Leading European carrier Finnair has inaugurated a new era in travel between Europe and Asia – and opens a new chapter in its history – as tickets go on sale for its first long-haul destinations to be served with next-generation Airbus A350 XWB aircraft.
Finnair is the European launch customer, and only the third worldwide, of the completely new aircraft type, which substantially raises the bar for passenger comfort, environmental performance and operational efficiency.
This moment in aviation history will also be marked by the first commercial services of the Airbus A350 WXB into Heathrow from Helsinki which will operate as crew familiarisation flights during October.
The full list of planned crew familiarisation flights is published online at a350.finnair.com
Finnair is also the first airline in the world to operate the A350 on scheduled services to China, where Shanghai will be served with a daily A350 service from October 25th 2015.
Beijing follows with a daily A350 service on November 21st 2015.
Finnair’s peak-season frequencies to Bangkok will be served with a combination of A350 and modern, comfortable A330 aircraft from December 4th 2015.
“We are thrilled to reach this important milestone as we gear up for a seamless transition to A350 operations,” said Finnair chief executive Pekka Vauramo.
“Our A350 investment program is the largest in the company’s 92-year history, and these aircraft will form the backbone of our long-haul operations for years to come while also playing an essential role in our sustainable, long-term profitability.
“I can truly speak for all employees when I say we cannot wait to welcome passengers on board.”
Finnair has 19 A350 aircraft on order, and expects to receive the first four by the end of this year.
Another seven will be delivered in 2016 and 2017, with the remaining eight to be delivered between 2018 and 2023.
Finnair plans to phase out its A340 aircraft by the end of 2017, leaving the entire widebody fleet comprised only of top-of-the-range Airbus A330 and A350 aircraft.