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Helsinki Airport Becomes Europe’s Fifth Largest Gateway To Asia

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According to records of the number of routes connecting Asia , Helsinki Airport has become Europe’s fifth largest gateway to Asia, with direct flights to 20 Asian destinations and 8 US destinations.

Helsinki Airport attended the 2019 China International Tourism Exhibition (ITB China, Shanghai) in Shanghai from May 15th to 17th. The three-day event focuses on the Chinese tourism market, further indicating that the Chinese market has become the focus of Helsinki Airport’s strategic development. Helsinki Airport will take this opportunity to better fulfill its commitment to this flourishing market. .

Helsinki Airport has always been acclaimed at major airports in Europe thanks to its modern design, convenient facilities and smooth and efficient human turn. Its superior location provides the shortest and fastest route for passengers travelling to and from Asia and Europe. The airport has a total of 111 flights per week and direct flights to 20 different destinations. Apart from European tourist destinations, the three high-frequency destinations of Helsinki Airport are China, Japan and Thailand.

“The Chinese market has become one of our most important overseas markets, and we have been optimizing the experience of Chinese tourists,” said Katja Siberg, senior vice president of marketing and brand communication at the Finnish Airport Group.

Today, China has become one of the fastest growing overseas markets for Helsinki Airport, with the number of Chinese passengers visiting in 2018 growing by 14%. As Finland becomes a popular tourist destination and the Chinese and Finnish governments continue to deepen their exchanges and cooperation in tourism culture, the number of Chinese passengers visiting will continue to rise on the occasion of the upcoming 2019 China-Finland Winter Sports Year. In addition, after Tibet Airlines announced the opening of its first intercontinental route from Jinan to Finland, Helsinki, the eight-hour flight will be the fastest and most convenient route between Europe and Asia. At the same time, Juneyao Airlines will open a new flight from Shanghai to Helsinki in June 2019. Up to now, Helsinki Airport has 8 direct routes to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Chongqing, Xi’an, Jinan and Hong Kong. With the increasing number of routes between China’s major cities and Helsinki Airport, and the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022, it is expected that the number of European visitors to China will continue to climb in the future.

Helsinki Airport has always regarded the Chinese market as a strategic development focus. As a pioneer in the industry, in recent years, a series of service measures for Chinese passengers have been launched and continuously optimized. Helsinki Airport is one of the first airports in Europe to open Alipay and UnionPay payment services, and provides Chinese speaking and service personnel for Chinese passengers. The airport has official accounts on Weibo, WeChat and Youku, and establishes a Chinese official website for easy browsing. The interior is marked with a Chinese signboard and a Chinese service desk. On this basis, the airport has also introduced hot water equipment and Asian catering brands such as Ajisen Ramen, which are popular among the Chinese, and further cooperate with China’s large airport operation company – Capital Airport Holding, to ensure a comfortable and smooth travel experience for Chinese travelers.

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Route Network

KLM Prepares To Operate At Half Capacity This Winter

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KLM Fleet At Amsterdam Airport

The planned upscaling of KLM’s European network in September has been put on hold owing to adjusted travel warnings, prompting Code Orange (essential travel only) designations for the UK, Spain, parts of France and other countries. Compared to August KLM’s route network in September and October remains stable.


Parked KLM Fleet, Image Rights: Marco Spuyman
Parked KLM Fleet, Image copyight: Marco Spuyman

The European Commission has announced the extension of the ‘slot waiver’ to the entire winter timetable. This has enabled KLM to respond more adequately to the rapidly changing market conditions as a result of COVID-19, even during the winter season. 

In addition to the financial impact, operating less well-filled flights would also be undesirable from a sustainability perspective.


“We are making all possible savings within the group and in the companies, which is essential to be able to get through the months to come.”

Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith told French daily L’Opinion

He believes that it may take until 2024 for Air France-KLM Group’s business to return to the level of 2019.


Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, KLM’s winter schedule will be a lot more restricted than it was in the same period last year. The timetable for the European network in November is currently around 55% of capacity in 2019.

KLM was gradually and responsibly expanding its European and intercontinental network, after the corona crisis had prompted severe restrictions on destinations and frequencies. 

KLM’s primary aim is to offer customers the widest range of destinations, after which we will consider increasing the number of frequencies or expanding capacity by deploying larger aircraft.

In August, KLM served almost 100% of its European network in terms of destinations, with capacity at approximately 60% compared to pre-corona levels.

  • Effective 25 October 2020, KLM will begin operating daily flights to the Polish city of Poznan.


Intercontinentally, KLM served 80% of its destinations at 60% capacity. At present, a third of these intercontinental flights are carrying cargo only. This means seat capacity is way down. KLM will carry passengers on these flights again as soon as local travel regulations allow.

  • From the beginning of September, KLM will resume a twice-weekly service to the Chinese city of Hangzhou, flying via Seoul Incheon in South Korea. 
  • KLM will also operate a twice-weekly service to Cairo.
  • Riyadh will also be added to the KLM network as a new destination (original start was September 26th, but is now scheduled for December 7th). 
  • On 29 October, KLM will also start a circle flight to add Edmonton back to the Canadian network. The flight will depart to Calgary, then call at Edmonton and fly back to Amsterdam.

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