Fin­nair to use new A350 on its routes to China

China Daily (Canada) - - TORONTO - ByWANGWEN wang­wen@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Fin­nair Oyj plans to use the latest gen­er­a­tion of Air­bus 350 XWB air­craft on its routes to China from next month, a top com­pany of­fi­cial said.

The car­rier, which re­ceived its first Air­bus 350 XWB on Wed­nes­day, will use the air­craft on its Helsinki-Shang­hai route from Nov 21, af­ter fly­ing on some short-haul routes in­side Europe, ac­cord­ing to Pekka Vau­ramo, CEO of Fin­nair.

Shang­hai has a strong de­mand for cargo, said Vau­ramo, and that is why the car­rier chose Shang­hai to be the first long-haul des­ti­na­tion for the A350 XWB.

Bei­jing is also on Fin­nair’s Air­bus 350 XWB list, although the ex­act time frame has not been fi­nal­ized, Vau­ramo said.

“We ex­pect the mar­ket in China to be the strong­est than ever be­fore in the sum­mersea­son,” he said. “We also look for­ward to sus­tained growth in our key mar­ket, which is the Europe-Asia mar­ket.”

Mean­while, the car­rier said it was adding Guangzhou as its sixth Chi­nese des­ti­na­tion from 2016 with four weekly flights in the sum­mer sea­son be­tween May 6 and Oct 29.

“We in­tend to dou­ble our Asian traf­fic by 2020 from the 2010 base­line and the new des­ti­na­tion is im­por­tant for this tar­get,” Vau­ramo said.

The car­rier will use A330 air­craft on the new route, as it will only re­ceive four of its 19 A350 XWB or­ders this year.

The bal­ance or­ders are set to be com­pleted in the next eight years, said Fabrice Bregier, pres­i­dent and CEO of Air­bus SAS.

Fin­nair’s A350 XWB has 297 seats with three cab­ins, in­clud­ing 46 in busi­ness class, 43 in econ­omy com­fort and 208 in econ­omy class.

“A350 is the per­fect air­craft to spear­head Fin­nair’s Asian ex­pan­sion,” said Bregier, as it is the first car­rier op­er­at­ing the non­stop route from the Europe to China since 1988.

With the aero­dy­nam­ics, de­sign and ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies, A350 XWB pro­vides a 25 per­cent gain in fuel ef­fi­ciency com­pared with com­pe­ti­tion.

For pas­sen­gers, the A350 XWB of­fers ex­tra-wide cab­ins, which means more per­sonal space in all classes.

Two Chi­nese air­lines— Air China Ltd and Hong Kong Air­lines Ltd — have also or­dered 10 and 15 A350 XWBs, re­spec­tively, but they still need to wait for some years to get the de­liv­er­ies.

Hong Kong Air­lines ex­pects to re­ceive its first A350 XWB in 2018 and Air China will have to wait un­til 2020.

Be­fore that, Chi­nese pas­sen­gers could ex­pe­ri­ence the latest air­craft from for­eign air­lines, and Fin­nair will not be the only one fly­ing the A350XWBto China.

Qatar Air­ways Group, which re­ceived the world’s first A350 XWB in Jan­uary, ex­pects to fly it to China in early 2016.

For­eign car­ri­ers are putting their new­est and most ad­vanced air­planes on Chi­nese routes to com­pete with do­mes­tic air­lines, some an­a­lysts said.

Ma­jor do­mes­tic car­ri­ers have or­dered new air­craft to ex­pand their global net­works dur­ing the past five years and the for­eign car­ri­ers need to fol­low suit, said Li Lei, an an­a­lyst from Minzu Se­cu­ri­ties Co Ltd.

The new air­craft, which is more ef­fi­cient and at­trac­tive for pas­sen­gers, is com­pet­i­tive for air­lines, es­pe­cially in the ro­bust mar­kets, such as Europe to Asia, Li said.

We in­tend to dou­ble our Asian traf­fic by 2020 from the 2010 base­line...”

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