Finnair is acquiring two 270-seat Airbus A340-300 widebodies on lease to meet its growing long-haul traffic needs.
The aircraft will be acquired on operating leases of approximately four years from International Lease Finance Coportation (ILFC). The aircraft will join the Finnair fleet in late 2010 and early 2011.
“We have recently announced an increase in Asian traffic and we need additional capacity. This decision will enable us to satisfy growth needs until we take delivery of the new-generation Airbus A350 aircraft,” says Mika Vehviläinen, Finnair’s president and CEO.
Finnair currently has seven Airbus A330-300 and five A340-300 long-haul aircraft, which fly to nine destinations in Asia as well as to New York. At the end of this year, the airline will take delivery of its eighth new A330-300, completing its firm A330 orders with Airbus. With the additional two A340-300s, Finnair’s long-haul fleet will grow to 15 Airbus aircraft by the beginning of next year.
“All of our Airbus long-haul aircraft have an excellent business class with lie-flat or full-flat seats,” says Vehviläinen. “Moreover, we can use the long-haul aircraft flexibly on long scheduled traffic and leisure flights, depending on the season. This ensures the most efficient possible use of the aircraft at different times of the year.”
In May 2011, Finnair will launch daily nonstop service between Helsinki and Singapore. The Finnair flight will be the only direct connection between Northern Europe and Singapore, according to the carrier. For Asian passengers, the Singapore route will offer onward connections via Finnair’s route network to 50 European destinations.
“Finnair’s Asian strategy has worked extremely well. Demand has continually strengthened and now is the right time to increase capacity and boost our market share in Asia’s growing market,” says Vehviläinen.
The carrier is also increaseing the frequency of its nonstop flights between Helsinki and Hong Kong. Instead of the current seven flights, Finnair will operate 12 flights a week on the route from June 2011 For spring 2011, Finnair also plans to add more frequencies to its other existing Asian destinations.
“Our Asian routes are also important in terms of cargo. The A340 aircraft, moreover, will bring additional capacity to meet the needs of Asia’s rapidly strengthening cargo demand,” says Vehviläinen.
Finnair’s owns 34 and leases 27 of the 61 aircraft now in its fleet, leasing 10 jets from ILFC.
“ILFC is pleased to be able to support Finnair’s growth as it implements its Asia strategy and other strategic initiatives and we look forward to delivering these A340 aircraft in the months ahead and continuing the expansion of our relationship with Finnair,” says Philip Scruggs, ILFC’s chief marketing officer.