Finnair will start operating a sixth weekly flight between Helsinki and Beijing at the beginning of June. The new flying day from Helsinki is Saturday and from Beijing Sunday. With this addition, Finnair will fly to Beijing on every day of the week except Tuesday.
From the beginning of June, Finnair will also introduce a service between Helsinki and Osaka in Japan. There will be three flights a week to Osaka, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays with return connections on Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays.
Finnair has consciously increased its Asian traffic in recent years. The service between Beijing and Helsinki has grown from two to six flights a week in a little over two years. Last year, Finnair opened a new route to Hong Kong and upgraded its Bangkok route to a daily service.
Last year, a fourth MD-11 long-haul aircraft, which had been engaged in leisure traffic, was transferred to satisfy growing demand in scheduled traffic. This spring, Finnair will also introduce a fifth MD-11, which will address the company’s expanding service needs.
A year ago, the business class section of the MD-11 aircraft was increased from 28 to 42 seats. The number of business passengers on Asian routes grew last year by nearly 80 per cent over the previous year.
“The investment has proved to be a success. We can provide a first-class product and the fastest connections between Europe and Asia to a growing number of business passengers,” says SVP Marketing Mika Perho.
In 2002, Finnair increased its capacity on Asian routes by more than a third. Around 100,000 more passengers were carried on oriental routes than in 2001. Overall Finnair flew nearly 400,000 passengers on its Asian routes.
Asia is the fastest growing market area for air traffic. Two thirds of Finnair`s passengers on its oriental flights are Asians. The share of Finnair’s scheduled passenger traffic revenue accounted for by Asian flights has grown in couple of years from ten to 17 per cent. The increase in Finnair’s Asian traffic has also strengthened growth prospects for Finnair cargo business. Last year cargo volumes on Asian routes grew by almost 50 per cent.