Finnair’s first Airbus A350 XWB was unveiled today in Toulouse (video of ceremony above). Finnair is the first European airline to fly the A350 XWB.
I’m in Helsinki for the very interesting CAPA World Aviation Summit, but here are the highlights from Finnair’s announcements: (more A350 news will follow).
“This moment heralds a new and exciting chapter in Finnair’s 92 year history. The A350 is the future of flying and will give our passengers a completely new and enhanced travel experience,” said Finnair CEO, Pekka Vauramo.
“This is also a proud moment for all Finnair employees who have worked relentlessly on the Finnair A350 programme. From route planning to pilots and cabin crew, from technical services to marketing, this is the moment we have worked for. With the A350, we get the fleet that our strategy requires, and we can start building our growth,” Vauramo continued.
“At Airbus, we’re proud and delighted to see Finnair, one of the world’s longest-standing and most respected airlines, become the first European carrier to fly the A350,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO. “The A350’s unrivalled fuel efficiency and passenger comfort make it the perfect aircraft to spearhead Finnair’s Asian expansion.”
Finnair will double its Asian traffic by 2020 from the 2010 baseline, with the A350 fleet investment key to that strategy. The company has ordered a total of 19 A350s the biggest investment in aircraft in Finnair’s history. The airline will get four A350 aircraft in 2015, and seven more will be delivered between 2016 and 2017 with deliveries continuing to 2023.
Finnair says it wants to offer customers “a unique Nordic experience” and has designed the A350 XWB to deliver on that vision.
“With the Finnair A350, we want to offer the best of Nordic hospitality,” says Juha Järvinen, Chief Commercial Officer, Finnair. “Our aim has been to consider every little detail, from the personalised service by our cabin crew to the details of the cabin design. The Finnair A350 experience is all about passenger comfort.”
Finnair also announced two new destinations in its expanding Asian routes: Fukuoka in Japan and Guangzhou in China for the summer season, 2016.
“We intend to double our Asian traffic by 2020 from the 2010 baseline, and these new destinations are an important step towards this target,” says Pekka Vauramo, Finnair President and CEO. “We have a long tradition of connecting Asia and Europe with smooth fast connections via our Helsinki hub, and I look forward to expanding our network to these two exciting markets.”
Finnair will open a direct route to Fukuoka in southern Japan in spring 2016, with three weekly frequencies. The service to Fukuoka makes Finnair the only European airline to operate to four different cities in Japan – Finnair currently offers daily connections to Tokyo Narita, Nagoya and Osaka.