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 new widebody type will be Shanghai.
The airline has also detailed the dates of a series of shorter, intra-Europe commercial flights it will operate in October with its first Airbus A350-900 before it begins serving Shanghai with the aircraft.
Oneworld member Finnair will be the first carrier in Europe and only the third worldwide ‒ after Qatar Airways and Vietnam Airlines ‒ to take delivery of an Airbus A350 XWB.
Finnair will start serving Shanghai with its first Airbus A350-900 on October 25, its daily Helsinki-Shanghai A350 XWB service making it the first airline to serve China with the new type.
The carrier will then begin operating daily services with A350-900s between its hub at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport and Beijing on November 21.
The next long-haul destination Finnair will begin serving with the A350 XWB is Bangkok, Finnair operating its peak winter-season flights to Thailand’s capital with a combination of A350 and A330-300s from December 4.
Finnair will also begin operating its daily services to Hong Kong from February 1 and to Singapore from May 5, 2016 with a combination of A350-900s and A330-300s.
“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,” says Finnair CEO Pekka Vauramo.
But before it begins its long-haul A350-900 services Finnair will conduct crew familiarization flights with the type throughout Europe during October.
These scheduled commercial services will be operated as usual within the Finnair network, but with the airline’s first A350-900 rather than the usual narrowbody aircraft.
As part of this crew familiarization process, Finnair’s first-ever commercial A350-900 flight will be on October 5 from Helsinki to Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland. A domestic round-trip between Helsinki and Oulu is also scheduled for the same day.
During the following two weeks, Finnair will then operate commercial A350-900 services between Helsinki and 16 other European cities, among them Brussels, Hamburg, London, Stockholm and Vienna.
Finnair’s first A350-900 service outside Finland will be to London Heathrow Airport on October 6.
Frankfurt and Stockholm will each see a Finnair A350-900 flight on October 7 and Paris and Copenhagen will be destinations for Finnair’s A350-900 the following day.
The full list of planned crew familiarization flights is published online at a350.finnair.com.
Finnair has 19 A350-900s on order and expects to take delivery of the first four by the end of this year.
Another seven will be delivered to the airline in 2016 and 2017, with the remaining eight to be delivered between 2018 and 2023.
Finnair plans to phase out all its A340-300s by the end of 2017, leaving the entire widebody fleet comprised only of twin-engine Airbus A330-300s and A350-900s.