Finnair is to replace its Boeing MD-11 fleet with seven Airbus A330 wide body aircraft in 2009-2010. Finnair is taking advantage of the possibility to change its original order for four-engine A340 aircraft to the twin-engine A330 model. Finnair currently has firm orders for six A330-300E model aircraft as well as four options, one of which has now been confirmed. The acquisition is part of the airline’s fleet modernisation programme agreed with Airbus at the start of this year.
“We want to update our long-haul fleet as quickly as possible so that we can serve our customers better. At the same time we will be able to benefit from twin-engine technology which saves both fuel and the environment. After the renewal we will have one of the most modern and eco-efficient fleets in Europe,” said Finnair President and CEO Jukka Hienonen.
Finnair currently operates seven MD-11 type aircraft, for which the leasing agreements will end in such a way that each departing aircraft is replaced with a new Airbus. The first MD-11 will retire from the Finnair fleet already at the end of next year. Next year Finnair’s long-haul Airbus fleet will grow by two Airbus A340-300E aircraft to five and the first A330 aircraft will arrive in spring 2009.
“We will have a total of 12 long-haul aircraft next year which will allow us to realise our planned growth. At the end of the decade we can operate a 15 long-haul aircraft fleet, if we confirm our remaining options,” Hienonen said.
Both Airbus aircraft types have the same cabin. The total number of seats is approximately 270 of which 42 are in Business Class. The aircraft models differ in range and cargo capacity.
The A330 works well on shorter long-haul flights as well as on routes where demand for cargo is smaller. The A340 can fly at full loads to longer destinations.
The A330 consumes about 20% less fuel than the current MD-11s. Even the difference between the A340 is 10%. General Electric CF6-80E1A4/B engines, which are a further developed version of the MD-11s engines, have been chosen for the A330s.