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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Founded 1 November 1923[1]
Hubs Helsinki-Vantaa Airport
Frequent flyer program Finnair Plus
Member lounge Finnair Lounge
Alliance Oneworld
Fleet size 65 (+19 orders)
Destinations 66
Company slogan "The fast airline between Europe and Asia"; "Why fly any other way"; "Discover the short Northern route to over forty destinations in Europe with Finnair."
Parent company Office of the Council of State[2]
Headquarters Vantaa, Finland
Key people Mika Vehviläinen (President & CEO)[3]

Finnair Plc is Finland's largest airline and flag carrier, with its headquarters on the grounds of Helsinki-Vantaa Airport 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 Government of Finland with 55.8% 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.[citation needed] Skytrax ranks Finnair as a 4 star airline.[4]



MD-11 decorated with Moomin characters
Finnair operations center on the grounds of Helsinki-Vantaa Airport in Vantaa, Finland

In 1923, consul Bruno Lucander founded Finnair as Aero O/Y (Aero Ltd). The company code originates from this AY = Aero Yhtiö ie. company in Finnish. 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.[citation needed] In the 1960s Finnair's head office was in Helsinki.[5]

Finnair received its first widebody aircraft in 1971, two McDonnell Douglas DC-10 aircraft. The first of these arrived on February 4, 1971 and entered service on February 14, 1971 with service from Helsinki to Las Palmas.

In 1979 Finnair established a subsidiary company Finnaviation for domestic operations, with a 60% stake.[6]

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. Up until then, flights either had to go via Moscow (Aeroflot, SAS, BA) or Anchorage (most carriers)[7], but Finnair circumvented this requirement by flying directly north from Helsinki, over the North Pole and back south through the Bering Strait, avoiding the Soviet airspace.[8] The aircraft was also fitted with extra fuel tanks, taking 13 hours for the trip.[9] The routes through Soviet airspace and with a stopover in Moscow took the same 13 hours, but flights with a stopover at Anchorage took up to 16 hours, giving Finnair a competitive edge. In the spring of 1986, Soviet regulators finally cleared the way for Air France and Japan Airlines to fly non-stop Paris-Tokyo services over Soviet airspace, putting Finnair at a disadvantage.[10]

In 1988, Finnair launched a Helsinki-Beijing route, making Finnair the first Western European carrier to fly non-stop between Europe and China.

In 1989 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 747-43Ntook 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%).[11] Finnair's stock is listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. As of March 2007, the airline employed 9,447 staff.[11] Finnair is the sixth oldest airline in the world with uninterrupted existence. With no fatal or hull-loss accidents since 1963, it has also been ranked one of the safest airlines in the world.[12]


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.



Current fleet

The Finnair fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of the 22nd of February, 2010):

Finnair Fleet
Aircraft Total Orders Passengers
(Premier World/Economy)
Airbus A319-100 11 0 123 (0/123)
Airbus A320-200 12 0 159 (0/159)
Airbus A321-200 6 0 196 (0/196)
Airbus A330-300 6[13] 2 271 (42/229)
Airbus A340-300 and -300E 5 0 269 (42/227)
Airbus A350-900 XWB 0 11 TBA
Boeing 757-200WL 7 0 227 (0/227)
Embraer E-170 8 0 76 (0/76)
Embraer E-190 10 3 100 (0/100)
Total 65 16
  • The average age of Finnair's fleet is 4.7 years as of 31 December, 2009.
  • As of the 22nd of February, 2010, Finnair no longer uses MD-11s on passenger services. [14]
  • Finnair's remaining A330s on order will be delivered in late March, 2010, and November, 2010.


Previously operated



Finnair Plus

Finnair Plus logo
Finnair Plus logo

Finnair Plus is Finnair's frequent-flyer programme. Passengers are awarded points based on the type and class of flight flown. Once enough miles are banked into the passenger's account, a membership tier (Basic, Silver, Gold or Platinum) is awarded. There is a Junior tier exclusively for minors. Silver, Gold, and Platinum members have privileges such as premium check-in desks and priority boarding.

Finnair offers frequent-flyer partnerships with the following airlines, in addition to those in the Oneworld alliance:

Finnair lounges

Finnair operates lounges at two airports:

The remaining international destinations are served with contract lounges.

Blue Wings

Finnair's in-flight magazine, Blue Wings, is published 10 times per year by the Finnish media group Sanoma, in English and Finnish. 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.

Meals and drinks

On most European flights, operated with Airbus aircraft and lasting longer than two hours, warm meals are served in both classes. On shorter European flights or Embraer economy class a cold meal or snack is served with free non-alcoholic drinks. On most Intercontinental flights there are a choice of meals in economy class. In inter-continental business class on Airbus aircraft, there is dedicated snack bar.[17]

In-flight entertainment

All Finnair aircraft have LCD video monitors or personal entertainment systems except the Embraer 170s and 190s. Airbus A320 series aircraft have monitors showing exterior shots, Moving-map systems and mute television programs. Airbus A340 and A330 have an AVOD personal entertainment system on all seats with about 25 movies, several TV shows, 60 music albums, radio channels and games. Boeing 757 has overhead monitors with Airshow map system, movies and TV shows in Economy class.[17]


Finnair has used special liveries including the "Moomins" and "Santa Claus", 1950s retro livery and Oneworld.


Finnair cabin crew uniform was ranked as the fifth most stylish uniform by the French Bon Voyage magazine[18]. Finnair has codes to indicate the rank of crew member: one stripe in the sleeve means normal cabin attendant, two stripes means a service chef (this rank no longer bears any special role within the crew) and three stripes a purser. Male cabin crew wear ties with plane symbols on them and the pilots wear ties with compass symbols. Yellow ties and scarfs are worn on leisure flights. Finnair requires its cabin attendants to wear gloves during take off or landing for safety reasons.

Codeshare agreements

Finnair has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:

* - also members of oneworld. ^ - members of Star Alliance. " - members of SkyTeam.

Head office

Finnair's head office is located in Tietotie 11 on the grounds of Helsinki-Vantaa Airport in Vantaa, Finland.[19]

Prior to being in Vantaa, the head office was located in central Helsinki.[20] The company moved the head office there from central Helsinki in 1994. The company held a "house-warming" ceremony on 11 January, 1994.[19]

Incidents and accidents

  • On 16 November 1927 a Aero O/Y Junkers F.13 disappeared en route from Tallinn to Helsinki. The aircraft was carrying two Finnish officers and the pilot. The pilot probably got lost, landed on water and sank.
  • On 10 November 1937, an Aero O/Y Junkers Ju 52 nose engine dropped off into the sea during a scheduled flight from Turku to Stockholm. The pilots managed to land safely with the two remaining engines. A broken propeller blade had caused a severe imbalance tearing the engine off its mounting.
  • On 14 June 1940 - an Aero Junkers Ju52-3/mge aircraft flying from Tallinn to Helsinki was shot down by two Soviet SB-2 bombers over the Gulf of Finland (see: Kaleva Shootdown). At that time there was no war between the Soviet Union and Finland.[21] Among the passengers were the French diplomatic couriers Paul Longuet and Frederic Marty and US courier Henry Antheil from the US embassy in Helsinki. The Soviet Union had declared an embargo on Estonia on 9 June 1940, and the Soviet air force was ordered to prevent Estonian or Latvian air force flights to Finland or Sweden. Various theories for the shootdown have been presented, one being that the Soviet Union wanted to get hold of the diplomatic mail that was transported in the aircraft, and subsequently picked up by a Soviet submarine which was operating in the area at the time of the downing.
  • On 3 January 1961 - Aero Flight 311, a DC-3 that was being flown by alcohol-intoxicated and sleep-deprived pilots crashed in Kvevlax, Finland (Koivulahti in Finnish), with a loss of all 25 on board.[22] The accident remains the deadliest in Finnish aviation history.
  • On 8 November 1963 - Aero Flight 217, a DC-3 crash that was attributed to a malfunctioning altimeter in the pilot-in-command's set of instruments occurred on a non-precision (non-ILS) approach to Mariehamn, Åland Islands under poor visibility, with a loss of 22 passengers and crew. 2 passengers and a flight attendant survived the crash. ILS equipment had been ordered for the airport, but local land use disputes had prevented an installation. The aircraft, having departed Turku against the standing regulations regarding such a poor visibility at the destination, had aligned itself correctly with respect to the runway, but sank, hit a knoll shortly before the runway and caught fire.[23]


External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun




  1. A Finnish airline
    • 1983, Nils-Aslak Valkeapää (author), Beverley Wahl (translator), Greetings from Lapland: The Sami, Europe's forgotten people, Zed Press,
      But all the same, pay attention to one thing which is a part of human existence: on a trip by Finnair from Helsinki to New York you can listen to all kinds of music.
    • 1984, John E. Gardner, Icebreaker, Penguin Group, ISBN 0425067645, page 10,
      “Yes,” Bond confirmed, “here in Helsinki. Unless Finnair got it wrong.”
      Finnair are like homing pigeons,” she laughed. “They don’t often get it wrong.”
    • 1990, Douglas Terman, Enemy Territory, Bantam Books, ISBN 0553286137, page 94,
      The Finnair employee leafed through the red pages, punched an entry into her computer and bent down to read the output.


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