Finnair will operate all-cargo schedules to Helsinki from Hong Kong and Seoul using a Boeing MD-11 widebody which the airline formerly used for passenger...

Finnair is launching all-cargo flights on routes from Helsinki to Seoul and Hong Kong routes in May.

It will operate the flights using a McDonnell Douglas/Boeing MD-11 widebody which Finnair formerly used for passenger services but which the airline has converted into a freighter.

The new all-cargo flights mean that Finnair, the first-ever operator of the MD-11, will continue to fly the type after the carrier retired the MD-11 from passenger service earlier this year.

“Growing cargo demand in the Asian market gives us the opportunity to expand capacity between Asia and Europe. Traffic will be directed from Asia mainly to Northern Europe, which is our domestic market area,” explains Antero J. Lahtinen, Finnair Cargo’s managing director.

The MD-11 freighter will fly serve both Hong Kong and Seoul twice a week. Flights will depart Helsinki for Seoul on Wednesdays and Sundays and to Hong Kong on Thursdays and Saturdays. The return flights from Seoul to Helsinki will be on Mondays and Thursdays and from Hong Kong to Helsinki on Fridays and Sundays.

Finnair's decision to convert one of its last MD-11 passenger aircraft to a freighter means the type will continue in all-cargo scheduled service with the airline, which was the first carrier to operate the MD-11 commercially and thus has a longer operating history with the type than any other airline

The first flight from Helsinki to Seoul is scheduled to depart on May 12.

“We are starting off with a good traffic program. We also carry cargo on our Asian passenger flights, but the cargo flights will supplement our capacity. The MD-11 is one of the most used types of cargo aircraft in the world,” says Lahtinen.

The MD-11’s cargo capacity is more than 80,000 kilos (78.74 tons) and 500 cubic metres (17,657 cubic feet), according to Finnair.