Finnair has become the first airline in the world to operate Airbus A321 aircraft equipped with new, fuel-saving Sharklet wing tip devices.
The extended-range, single-aisle aircraft, which has the lowest fuel burn, emissions and noise footprint in its class, will be quieter and more comfortable for passengers than the older planes it replaces, as well as about seven per cent more fuel efficient per seat.
Representing a substantial reduction in costs and CO2 emissions, the aircraft is the first of five orders for the A321 with Sharklets, with another two expected to enter the fleet later this year and the remainder due in the first half of 2014.
The five A321s with Sharklets will replace Finnair’s four Boeing 757s that have been used mainly for leisure and charter flights, enabling more flexibility and interoperability between European scheduled and leisure flights, driving up aircraft utilisation and thus improving returns on the fleet investment.
The new aircraft also complete Finnair’s shift to an all-Airbus fleet, bringing further cost efficiencies in maintenance and pilot training to flight operations.
The first aircraft, registered in Finland as OH-LZG, leaves the Airbus facility in Hamburg today and enters regular service in Finnair’s fleet.
“Since Finnair began flying 90 years ago, the company has prided itself on flying with the most modern aircraft available.
“Today is a good day for Finnair as we mark a continuation of that tradition, as the launch customer for the A321 with Sharklets,” said Finnair chief operating officer Ville Iho.
“Fleet investments are key to sustainable and economical flight operations, saving on both fuel costs and carbon emissions – now even more important in the emissions trading era.
“As we develop our European network to complement our long-haul Asian routes, realising the cost savings and efficiencies of a modern fleet helps ensure profitable growth in the future for Finnair.”
Finnair first announced the A321 order in June 2010.
The airline also has firm orders for 11 next-generation Airbus A350s, the first of which is expected in the second half of 2015.