Finnair Plc is Finland's largest airline and the flag carrier, with its headquarters in Vantaa, Finland, and its main hub at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Finnair and its subsidiary companies dominate both the domestic and international air travel markets in Finland. The largest owner is the Finnish Government with 57.04% of the shares. Finnair is a member of the Oneworld alliance. In 2006, the airline transported 8.8 million passengers, on a network of 15 domestic and 55 international destinations. In addition there are about 50 seasonal charter-flight destinations.
Finnair was founded as Aero O/Y (Aero Ltd) by consul Bruno Lucander in 1923. Lucander had previously run the Finnish operations of the Estonian airline Aeronaut. In mid-1923 he concluded an agreement with Junkers Flugzeugwerke AG to provide aircraft and technical support in exchange for a 50% ownership in the new airline. The charter establishing the company was signed in Helsinki on September 12, 1923 and the company was entered into the trade register on December 11, 1923. The first flight was flown on March 20, 1924 from Helsinki to Tallinn, Estonia with Junkers F.13 aircraft equipped with floats. The last seaplane service was operated in December 1936 following the construction of the first aerodromes in Finland.
Air raids on Helsinki and other Finnish cities made World War II a difficult period for the airline. The company saw half of its fleet requisitioned by the Finnish Air Force during that time, and it is estimated that during the Winter War of 1939 and 1940 half of the airline's passengers were children for evacuation to Sweden.
In 1946 the Finnish government acquired a majority stake in the company and re-established services to Europe on November 1, 1947. In 1953, the name Finnair was adopted as the airline's name. In 1961, Finnair joined the jet age by adding Rolls-Royce Avon-engined Caravelles to its fleet. These were later exchanged with the manufacturer for Pratt & Whitney JT8D-engined Super Caravelles. In 1962 Finnair acquired a 27% controlling interest in a private Finnish airline, Kar-Air. Finnair Oy became the company's official name on June 25, 1968. In 1969, it took possession of its first U.S. made jet, a Douglas DC-8. The first transatlantic service to New York was inaugurated on May 15, 1969.
In 1975, Finnair received its first wide-bodied aircraft when the McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 entered service. In 1979 it established a subsidiary company Finnaviation for domestic operations, with a 60% stake. In 1983, Finnair became the first operator to fly non-stop from Western Europe to Japan when Helsinki-Tokyo flights with one McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30ER aircraft were started. In 1988, Finnair launched a Helsinki-Beijing route, making Finnair the first Western European carrier to fly non-stop between Europe and China.
In 1987 Finnair became the launch customer for the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, the first of which was delivered on December 7, 1990. The first revenue service with the MD-11 took place on December 20, 1990, with OH-LGA operating a flight from Helsinki to Tenerife in the Canary Islands.
Both Kar-Air and Finnaviation became wholly owned by Finnair and were integrated into the mainline operations in 1997. On September 25, 1997 Finnair Oyj (Finnair Plc) became the company's official name. In 1999, Finnair joined the Oneworld alliance. In 2001, Finnair recycled the Aero name again and established Aero Airlines, an airline based in Tallinn, Estonia. In 2003 Finnair acquired ownership of the Swedish low-cost airline, Flynordic, which operates mainly within Scandinavia.
The State of Finland is the controlling shareholder (57.04%). Finnair's stock is listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. As of March 2007, the airline employed 9,447 staff. Finnair is the sixth oldest airline in the world with uninterrupted existence.
From its Helsinki-Vantaa base Finnair flies to Asia and North America, and is now extending its European operations with the introduction of Embraer jets. The domestic operations are partly carried out in cooperation with Finncomm Airlines, operating an ATR/Embraer fleet.
The Finnair fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of July 2008) :
|Airbus A330-200||(1 order)||328 (38/286)||Projected use for charter flights to Thailand in winter 2008-09.||Entry into service: November 2008. The plane is leased from XL Airways UK Ltd.|
|Airbus A330-343E||(8 orders, 2 options)||271 (42/229)||Beijing, New York City||NY starts on April 1st 2009. Entry into service: 2009-10 replacing MD-11|
|Airbus A340-311||1||269 (42/227)|
|Airbus A340-313E||4||269 (42/227)||Asia|
|Airbus A350-900 XWB||(11 orders, 4 options)||Entry into service: 2014-16|
|Boeing 757-200WL||7||227||Primarily charter flights. Also in regular service to Rome and Barcelona during summer.|
|Embraer 190LR||8 (5 orders)||100||Entry into service: 2 in 2009, 3 2010-11|
|McDonnell Douglas MD-11||7||282 (36/246)||Asia(Delhi), New York||Exit from service: 1st 11/08-last 03/10 |
Two to be converted for Aeroflot-Cargo
The average age of Finnair's fleet is 6.0 years as of 2nd June 2008.
Finnair offers frequent-flyer partnerships with the following airlines, in addition to those in the Oneworld alliance:
Finnair operates lounges at two airports:
Remaining international destinations are served with contract lounges.
Finnair's in-flight magazine, Blue Wings, is published 10 times per year by Finnish media company SanomaWSOY. There are English and Finnish articles in the magazine. The first edition of Blue Wings magazine was published in 1980. The magazine 'Lento' is also published and presents in-flight information, such as the on-board shop and route information. There are domestic and international newspapers on all flights and magazines on long-haul flights in business class.
† - also members of oneworld.