Posts Tagged 'Finnair'

Finnair’s Last MD-11 Passenger Flight

Finnair completed its last scheduled passenger flight with the MD-11 aircraft type today (February 22, 2010) – a type that was first launched at the Finnish flag carrier in 1990.

Finnair Flight AY022 took off from Delhi at 10:41 local time (26 minutes late) to arrive in Helsinki today at 14:23 (8 minutes late). This 7:12 hour long flight was the airline’s final scheduled passenger flight aboard an MD-11. The type served Finnair for nearly 20 years during which time it flew some 400,000 hours, landed more than 50,000 times, transporting 14 million passengers (averaging 8 hour long flights with 280 passengers). It played a crucial role in Finnair becoming “the fast airline between Asia and Europe” – by being a great workhorse on the Nordic routes to Asian destinations.

Finnair was the launch customer of the Boeing MD-11 and as such became the first airline to operate the type on December 20, 1990 on a flight from Helsinki to Las Palmas in Spain. The aircraft, a modernized version of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 got increased wingspan and winglets, a 7 m longer fuselage using more composite materials and new engines, but kept the original concept of having two engines below the wing with an additional one at the base of the vertical stabilizer. By an all-digital cockpit it reduced the required flight crew from 3 to 2 pilots compared to the base DC-10 aircraft.

The program to create a better DC-10 was launched and cancelled several times before finally being renamed to MD-11 and committed to by the board of McDonnell Douglas in 1986. First flight was scheduled for March, 1989 but due to manufacturing issues, delays with suppliers and labor industrial actions (strikes) (we heard the same reasons for the delay of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner just recently…) the rollout only happened in September of that year. The type actually took to the skies for the first time on January 10, 1990. After Finnair, Delta Air Lines was the second to start using the type. The first reports and experiences showed that the plane was not as fuel efficient as planned – therefore could not fly to such long-haul destinations as originally claimed. This resulted in Singapore Airlines – the launch customer for the Airbus A380 in 2007 – cancelling its original order of MD-11’s. When McDonnell Douglas merged with Boeing in 1997, they said the MD-11 production would continue with the freighter variant only. In 1998, they delivered the last passenger version to the now defunct Belgian Sabena and the last freighter version to Lufthansa in 2001. A total of 200 MD-11s were built.

Finnair had up to seven MD-11s at one time. It now uses Airbus A330s and A340s on its long-haul routes that burn 20% less fuel. As of February 2010 the only remaining operator that had ordered the MD-11 from the manufacturer (and not received second-hand’ used versions) is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

The MD-11 has already been removed from the Fleet section of the Finnair website.

by balint01

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Helsinki-Vantaa Becomes Helsinki Airport

Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, the gateway to Finland, the connecting hub to Asia and the home to oneworld member Finnair is being rebranded as simply HELSINKI AIRPORT. This name change is targeted to identify the airport on the international market, as a modern, international hub.

Helsinki, the capital of Finland currently has two airports, Helsinki-Vantaa and Helsinki-Malmi. Opened in 1938, Malmi was the original airport and served as the only such facility of Helsinki until 1952, when the new airport was opened for the 1952 Helsinki Summer Olympics, near the small suburban city of Vantaa. Since 1952, Malmi has been operating as a small, local airport and is the home for most Finnish pilot schools and flying clubs.

Helsinki-Vantaa with 3 runways and approximately 20.000 employees on the other hand has grown to be an international hub of oneworld member Finnair and a main connecting hub for passengers flying to Asia from Europe or the East Coast of North-America. In 2009 more than 13 million passengers have visited the airport, with more than 80% of them flying on international routes and more than 1 million connecting to Asian destinations. The airport itself is only 17 kms away from Helsinki’s city center, and only 5 kms from the center of Vantaa, thus the now legacy name.

Finavia, the state-owned operator of 25 of Finland’s 27 commercial airports, has now rebranded Helsinki-Vantaa as Helsinki Airport in a EUR 30,000 (USD 43,200) marketing initiative. The rebranding is intended to reinforce the message that Helsinki is a modern hub with all the services of a large international airport, ideal for connections to Asia owing to its position directly over the shortest great-circle routes connecting the continents. This is fully in-line with the strategy and marketing mesage of Finnair, that advertises itself brilliantly as the airline providing the shortest and smoothest route from Europe to Asia. Helsinki Airport is also less congested as other major, larger European hubs and has been one of the most punctual airports in Europe for years.

The branding initiative actually went into effect on December 11, 2009 with the formal opening of the final phase of a EUR 143 million extension to the airport’s Terminal 2. It includes the 1,000-sq.m. Via Lounge, which is open to all passengers for a fee and to oneworld premium passengers for free. It also features the 600-sq.-m. Via Spa, featuring a range of saunas and treatments in true Finnish style. After all, they invented the sauna!!

The extension increases the number of widebody gates in Terminal 2 (T2) from five to eight and allows all long-haul flights to be handled in one terminal. Additionally, it has enabled Finnair to move all its flights to T2 along with oneworld partners British Airways and Malev Hungarian Airlines. Moving all domestic flights to T2 allows Finnair to maintain a 35-min. connecting time between any two flights, a very low time compared to minimum connection times at London Heathrow or Paris Charles de Gaulle – where I personally would never plan my connection to be less than 2.5 hours…

by balint01

Finnair Celebrates 85th Anniversary

Finnair -one of the world’s oldest airlines established in 1923- has turned 85 years old this year and is showing the airline world how such a birthday should be celebrated in true style.

Retro and Current Logos of Finnair

Retro and Current Logos of Finnair

1. Retro Flights in Retro Livery Airplane

First of all painting one of the fleet (an Airbus A319) in the original livery from 85 years ago and naming it “Silver Bird” for years to come:

Finnair Airbus A319 in Retro Livery (c by Teemu Heikkonen on airliners.net)

Finnair Airbus A319 in Retro Livery (c by Teemu Heikkonen on airliners.net)

Finnair is flying the “Silver Bird” from its home Helsinki-Vantaa airport to a number of locations all around Europe, but some of those flights between July 30 and December 31, 2008 are classified as Retro flights, with the crew wearing retro dresses as well. (if interested, read our earlier post about sexy stewardess uniforms.)

2. Retro Marketing on a Dedicated Retro Website

Setting up a special dedicated retro website for a month that looks like it was made out of paper and pack it with video commercials from earlier days (which still advertise the current brand…). Add the list of the above mentioned retro flights to it, (the list may change due to operational reasons of course) together with classic Retro style Destination Guides to the planned destinations: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, London, Manchaster, Milan, Oulu, Paris, Rome, Stockholm.

Retro Style Finnair 85th Anniversary Website

Retro Style Finnair 85th Anniversary Website

Link to Finnair Retro Commercials

Link to Finnair Retro Commercials

Turning the main Finnair cover website to a Retro looking page with a single banner to the Retro site and a search module – to still allow people to get on with their business and make a booking.

Main cover page of Finnair in Retro Style

Main cover page of Finnair in Retro Style

3. Celebrate the 10 year Alliance Membership with Further Special Livery Airplanes

And finally follow LAN Airlines and be the first European oneworld member to feature a special oneworld livery on the latest Airbus A340 addition to the longhaul fleet as well as on a shorthaul Airbus A319 – to celebrate the 10 year membership in oneworld.

Finnair special anniversary oneworld livery Airbus A340 (c by oneworld)

Finnair special anniversary oneworld livery Airbus A340 (c by oneworld)

Very well done Finnair, this marketing campaign should be copied by others!! Besides the website and the retro commercial videos, having three special livery aircraft at the same time will have all plane-spotters around the world looking out for anniversary Finnair airplanes!

by balint01


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