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Finnair Still Sees Asia As A Core Market For Future Growth

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Finnair Airbus A330

Although it’s been previously reported on the unsatisfactory revenue of Finnair in the Asian market, as Finnair suffered losses in the first quarter of 2019, and some Asian routes did not turn into profit.

It is expected the operation between Helsinki and Chongqing will be cancelled this October. However, these seem to be unable to stop Finnair’s enthusiasm and long-term interests for the Asian market, and still regard this region as the core of future growth.

Topi Manner, Finnair's Newly Appointed CEO
Topi Manner, Finnair’s Newly Appointed CEO

According to media reports recently, Topi Manner, the newly appointed Finnair CEO, said that thanks to Finland’s favorable geographical position, Finnair can provide very efficient and convenient flights from Europe to China and other destinations in Asia; and these routes also contributed a large portion of passenger revenue to Finnair. Although there are some trade tensions and some unfavorable factors for the slowdown of growth in some economies this year, Finnair has seen some signs of a rebound in demand in the near future, and the Japanese market has performed well, which is in line with some recent macro indicators. A positive recovery signal is consistent.

In addition, Robert Öhrnberg, General Manager of Finnair Greater China, also revealed in an interview with the Civil Aviation Resource Network reporter in Beijing late last month that China has always been one of the most important global markets for Finnair and will be rooted and invested in it for a long time. We are willing to work with all parties to explore and dig deep into this market with an open attitude.

In fact, a series of recent actions by Finnair in the Asian market are enough to confirm the “Asia-centrism” of the above executives.

Earlier, Finnair publicly announced that in order to increase the capacity of the Beijing route, starting from November 3 this year, it will open a flight to and from Beijing Daxing International Airport (IATA code: PKX), which Finnair will operates three flights a week on Monday, Wednesday and Sunday, operated by the Airbus A330 widebody aircraft. In addition to the current daily flights operated to and from Beijing Capital International Airport, the number of flights from Finnair to Beijing will increase to 10 flights per week. Finnair has thus become the first foreign airline to announce the opening of the flight service of Beijing Daxing International Airport.

At the same time, Finnair also announced that it will open flights to Busan, South Korea in the summer of 2020, and will become the first and only airline to connect between Busan and Europe. According to plan, starting on March 30 next year, Finnair will use the new Airbus A350 wide-body aircraft to operate round-trip flights between Helsinki and Busan on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

In this regard, Finnish Chief Commercial Officer Ole Orvér commented: “We are very happy to be the first European airline operating in Busan, which is a good complement to our vital Asian network. Korea is also our largest market in the world. One of which we have been operating for 11 years. Finnair is pleased to offer a new destination for our travellers and continue to grow in Asia.”

It is understood that Busan will be the 20th destination of Finnair’s network in Asia.

Of course, in addition to striving to build and consolidate the route network in Asia, Finnair has fully relied on the advantages of other partners to jointly develop the market and is an indispensable part of its strategic development in Asia. In fact, Finnair has also worked hard in this area recently and has reached a lot of cooperation.

According to the public information collected by the Civil Aviation Resource Network, in June this year, Finnair opened code-sharing cooperation with China Southern Airlines (China Southern Airlines) and Juneyao Airlines. In the same month, Finnair also cooperated with Juneyao Airlines to start the frequent flyer program cooperation.

The code-sharing cooperation between Finnair and China Southern Airlines started on June 1 this year includes the Finnair Guangzhou-Helsinki route and some of China Southern’s destination routes in China. Through the docking of the two-way network, Finnair will add five new destinations in Greater China. Finnair passengers can fly on China Southern Airlines, fly to Changsha, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Sanya, Wenzhou, Xiamen and Xi’an via Guangzhou.

Starting from June 24 this year, Finnair and Juneyao Air officially unveiled the frequent flyer program cooperation which provides mutual benefits and free award booking services for both members. Finnair has thus become the first European Airline Division of Juneyao Airways to carry out FFP cooperation.

Since June 28 this year, Finnair has added the AY code to the round-trip flight HO1607/1608 of Juneyao Air’s route between Shanghai-Helsinki. At the same time, Juneyao Airlines also added the HO code to the same route of Finnair flight AY087/088. In addition, Finnair also carries AY codes on some flights from Shanghai to Harbin, Shenyang, Dalian, Xi’an, Chongqing, Qingdao, Xiamen, Kunming, Fuzhou, Nanjing, Xi’an, Chongqing and Zhangjiajie.

Finnair is also dedicated to satisfy the passengers needs in this important market. For example, Robert Öhrnberg once told reporters that Finnair has always noticed that Asian guests, including Chinese tourists, are very advancing with the various digital technologies, so they have been striving to be as local as possible in this respect. For example, Finnair has long cooperated with China UnionPay to open the UnionPay card payment on the official website. In 2017, Finnair became the first airline in the world to use Alipay as a means of payment on board. In the future, Finnair will spare no effort to continue to do digital products and services for Asia.

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Route Network

SAS Resume Once Weekly Flight To Shanghai With A350

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SAS A350 Livery Rear View

From 29 September, Scandinavian Airlines will once again be possible to fly direct to China. Direct flights between Scandinavia and China with SAS has been stopped since 31 January. The airline has obtained approval from the Chinese authorities and is reopening the route from its hub from Copenhagen to Shanghai with a weekly frequency.


SAS will resume flights from Copenhagen Airport to Shanghai Pudong International Airport on September 29, 2020. The flight runs once a week from Copenhagen to Shanghai every Tuesday and from Shanghai to Copenhagen every Thursday. This route will use our brand new Airbus 350 to fly. The Airbus 350 has advanced engines and cabins, which can reduce emissions by 30% compared to the models it replaces. The specific flight schedule is as follows:

  • SK997 takes off from Copenhagen at 18:40 and arrives in Shanghai at 10:55+1 (the next day)
  • SK998 Departs from Shanghai at 13:10 and arrives at Copenhagen at 18:30

The reopening of this route is vital for trade. 

With the reopening of the route, SAS is aiming to meet demand for business travel and air freight services between Scandinavia and China.

At the end of October, SAS is also planning to resume flights to Beijing provided that SAS obtains the necessary approval from the authorities.


SAS is currently flying to 75 destinations and operates up to 380 flights a day. 

SAS is monitoring market developments on a weekly basis and is ready to step up its services when travel restrictions are eased and demand for travel increases again. 

SAS has introduced a range of measures aimed at meeting new demands in the work to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Please find more information here.


SAS Business Class Cabin Bar
SAS Business Class Cabin Bar

Regarding Onboard Service:

SAS Gold airport lounge at Copenhagen Airport is now open and has been adjusted according to the current situation, providing some packaged food and some buffet meals. SAS have also stepped up cleaning efforts and focused on maintaining a safe distance and reducing contact.

During the flight, meals and beverages are being provided no matter which class you are in, passengers can enjoy two meals during the flight, however, the bar in business class was temporarily closed during this period. The catering services will be different from the past due to pandemic restrictions.



SAS, Scandinavia’s leading airline, flies 30 million passengers to, from and within Scandinavia each year. The airline has three main hubs – Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm – with more than 125 destinations in Europe, USA and Asia. Spurred by a Scandinavian heritage and sustainable values, SAS will reduce total carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2025 and use sustainable aviation fuel equivalent to the total fuel used to operate all SAS domestic flights, by 2030.

In addition to flight operations, SAS offers ground handling services, technical maintenance and air cargo services. SAS is a founder member of the Star AllianceTM, and together with its partner airlines offers around 19,000 daily flights to over 1,300 destinations worldwide.

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