Finnair Prepares To Welcome A350

Finnair has kickstarted preparations to welcome the new Airbus A350 to its long-haul fleet by announcing destinations that will see service by the advanced jet. The Helsinki-based carrier is slated to become the first European airline operating the type later this year and will roster it on selected European routes before intercontinental flights from October.


The Oneworld member’s A350 inaugural will take place on 5 October 2015 from Helsinki to Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland, with the composite jet also touching down in Oulu the same day before it flies further within Europe. 15 cities on the continent, including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, London, Paris, Stockholm and Vienna, have been earmarked for ‘crew familiarization’ flights. Finnair then takes the A350 east to Shanghai on 25 October 2015, with Beijing (21 November 2015), Bangkok (4 December 2015), Hong Kong (1 February 2016) and Singapore (5 May 2016) to follow, continuing its focus on Asia as a growth region.


Configured in a 2-class layout, the A350 fleet will seat 297 passengers in greater comfort over the airline’s current A330s and A340s. 46 shell seats in Business Class are arranged 1-2-1 in a reverse herringbone pattern giving every passenger direct access to the aisle. An updated version of the popular Zodiac Cirrus seat (also utilized by Oneworld partners American Airlines and Cathay Pacific), the seat converts into a full-flat bed and features a 16-inch touchscreen monitor, large table, several storage nooks together with in-seat power and USB connectivity. Directly behind the Business cabin are 251 slimline Economy Class seats arranged 3-3-3 across, fitted with a more comfortable headrest, an 11-inch touchscreen monitor and USB connectivity paired with high-quality headphones. The airline has classed the first 5 rows as ‘Economy Comfort’, offering a 35-inch seat pitch versus a tighter 31 inches in the regular rows. All passengers will also benefit from inflight Internet connectivity onboard.


Finnair’s A350 delivery schedule sees four aircraft arriving in the second half of 2015 and seven more between 2016 and 2017, by which time the airline will have retired its current fuel-thirsty A340 jets. A further eight A350s will follow from 2018 through 2023.


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