Today, Thursday, Finnair begins a fifth weekly flight to the Beijing, the capital of China. Finnair`s flight frequency to Beijing has grown in two years from two to five flights per week.
After a three-year break, Finnair will start its Osaka flights again in June 2003. Osaka Airport was built in the 1990s, at which time many airlines opened routes to the destination, Finnair included, because Tokyo`s Narita Airport could not accept any new flights. The result was overcapacity at Osaka, and around a third of the airlines that originally served the city have now discontinued their flights.
“Supply and demand are again in balance at Osaka. Finnair discontinued its Osaka service in March 2000 because we wished for reasons of profitability to transfer one MD-11 to leisure traffic. Now leisure traffic has its own fleet and a fifth MD-11 has been acquired for scheduled passenger traffic. We again have the capacity with which to re-open the route,” says Henrik Arle, Chief Operating Officer and EVP Finnair Scheduled Passenger Traffic.
Finnair`s passenger numbers on Asian flights grew last year by 17 per cent, and in the first half of this year growth was 40 per cent. In February, Finnair opened a new route to Hong Kong and introduced daily flights to Bangkok. Finnair currently flies twice a week to Tokyo. In Asia, Finnair also flies to Singapore.
“The long-term objective is to have as many direct daily flights as possible to the biggest Asian destinations. We want our own share of the passenger stream between Asia and Europe. I believe that we have what it takes, because we have a product that is as good if not better than others, the necessary flights and fast connections, says Henrik Arle.
Finnair has decided to acquire a fifth MD-11 aircraft for its long-haul fleet. The aircraft is scheduled to join Finnair`s fleet early in 2003. From the beginning of June next year, the additional capacity brought by the new aircraft will be used to meet the needs of growing traffic to Osaka and other Asian destinations.