Finnair’s first Airbus A340 has had its inaugural flight from Helsinki to Kuopio in central Finland.The wide-bodied, former Virgin Atlantic 295-seat aircraft joined the Finnair fleet last week and will begin operating in Finland. The aircraft will fly 30 domestic flights before it is transferred to its actual route between Helsinki and Shanghai.
This first Airbus A340 is the launch for Finnair’s long-haul fleet renewal during which the airline will acquire 12 new Airbus wide-bodied aircraft. Nine of them will be A350s and three A340s. Thanks to the strong growth of Finnair’s Asian traffic, the next A340s will arrive in 2007-08. The current long-haul Boeing MD-11 fleet will be phased out by 2012.
The fleet renewal is central to Finnair’s Asian strategy. The number of destinations in Asia will increase by 1-2 each year. This year the route network has grown with Nagoya in Japan in the beginning of June and Delhi, India will be added in November. Summer 2007 will see the launch of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. With these new routes Finnair will have a total of 11 destinations in Asia.