Finnair has firmed up its decision to acquire the A350 by signing a firm contract for the purchase of nine Airbus A350-900s. The Finnish carrier also has options for four additional aircraft. Finnair had initially announced its intention to modernise and increase its long range capacity with the new Airbus aircraft in December 2005.
The first A350-900s will be delivered in 2012. The aircraft will feature a brand new concept in a 2-class cabin for 314 passengers. The aircraft will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 1700 engines.
Finnair has also ordered three new A340-300Es, to sustain the strong expansion of its Asian traffic from spring 2007. The A340-300Es (“E” for Enhanced) will accommodate 268 passengers. The A340-300E features the latest flight deck equipment and is equipped with CFM International CFM56-5C4/P engines.
Finnair already successfully operates a fleet of 29 Airbus A320 Family aircraft, including 11 A319s, 12 A320s and six A321s.
Jukka Hienonen, Finnair President and CEO commented, “This is the biggest fleet modernisation in Finnair’s history. The decision reflects our confidence and commitment to our Asian growth strategy. It will enable us to open new destinations and to add frequencies to current destinations where demand is greatest. The introduction of a new more efficient and environmentally positive fleet will in time generate big cost savings.”
Expected to enter service in 2010, the A350 Family will initially include two members. The A350-800 will typically carry 253 passengers in a three-class configuration up to 8,800 nm/16,300 km. Its larger sistership, the A350-900, selected by Finnair, will accommodate as many as 300 passengers in a three-class layout on ranges of up to 7,500 nm/13,890 km.