Finnair has begun selling tickets for its first long-haul services with the Airbus A350-900 and reveals its first long-haul destination with the type will be Shanghai. It has also detailed a series of shorter, intra-Europe A350-900 commercial flights it will operate in October before serving Shanghai.

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Finnair will operate its Chicago service from June 13 through October 17. The carrier will operate three round-trips a week on the Helsinki-Chicago route, using Airbus A330-300 widebodies.

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On behalf of Finnair, Flybe Finland will operate three round-trips a week on each of the three new routes, with Embraer 190 jets. The airline begins flying all three routes this summer.

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Russia’s S7 Airlines will launch daily service between Moscow Domodedovo Airport and Helsinki-Vantaa Airport on April 26. It will use Airbus A319 jets to operate the route.

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From June 14, Finnair will operate three round-trips a week between its hub at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport and Xi´an Xianyang International Airport until the close of the summer season on October 26.

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According to the airline, if the planned new June-October 2013 service receives the required regulatory approvals it will make Finnair the only European airline to offer a direct connection from Europe to the capital of Vietnam.

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According to SAS, it will offer direct flights to new destinations from all main airports in the Nordic countries and a number of regional airports. SAS will also increase the frequency of its services on a number of existing domestic and European routes.

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Airport hotels aren’t usually known either for their service quality or their overall appeal, and I have stayed in some fairly miserable examples. But the Hilton Helsinki Airport, at which I have stayed on several occasions, seems to me to have got it almost completely right.

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Finnair’s four youngest Airbus A330-300s feature both a new Business Class seat – a lie-flat bed which angles down to become completely horizontal – and a new seat-row configuration. Finnair also works hard to keep the in-flight service in its Business Class cabins excellent.

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Rapidly growing Finnair is focusing its business strategy on becoming the undisputed top airline in the Nordic countries and becoming the most desirable option for travelers between Asia and Europe.

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Already rated by the Carbon Disclosure Project as the world’s top airline for sustainability practices and open-disclosure reporting, Finnair is intensifying its sustainability efforts. The intensified focus comes as Finnair increasingly brands itself an “ecosmart” airline.

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According to Finnair, the new route is a logical next step in the carrier’s strategy of offering the shortest connections between Asia and Europe via Helsinki. Finnair says it is the first carrier to open a direct flight route between Europe and Chongqing.

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The codesharing agreement begins on April 20. Customers can immediately make reservations with TAP Portugal and Finnair on the codeshare flights.

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The carrier will fly the route three times a week in the winter season from October 7 until March 23, 2012.

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Finnair and Belarus national carrier Belavia have signed a codeshare agreement which, from August 15, will cover Belair’s flights between Helsinki and Minsk.

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The airline will begin the new service to France’s second-largest city on April 2. Finnair will serve Lyon, which is located in east-central France, with Embraer 190s.

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Finnair says it will be the first airline to open a direct route from Europe to Chongqing, the largest and fastest-growing city in China. The airline will fly to Chongqing four times a week with an Airbus A340-300.

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Finnair will launch daily service between Helsinki and Gdansk in Poland on March 27, 2011, with the flights to be operated by its regional-airline partner Finncomm Airlines.

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Spanair is operating the route in cooperation with Finland’s Blue1, a subsidiary of SAS.

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