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Finnair Logo.svg
Founded 1 November 1923[1]
Hubs Helsinki Airport
Frequent-flyer program Finnair Plus
Airport lounge Finnair Lounge
Alliance Oneworld
Fleet size 59 (incl. Flybe Nordic)
Destinations 86
Company slogan Designed for you
Parent company Finnair Group[2]
Headquarters Vantaa, Finland[3]
Key people Pekka Vauramo (President & CEO)[4]
Historic Finnish Airlines DC-3 from the late 1940s, restored to original livery at Oulu, (2014)

Finnair Plc (Finnish: Finnair Oyj, Swedish: Finnair Abp)[5] is the flag carrier and largest airline of Finland, with its headquarters in Vantaa and its main hub at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Finnair and its subsidiaries dominate both domestic and international air travel in Finland. Its major shareholder is the government of Finland, with 55.8%[6] of the shares.

Finnair is the fifth 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.[7]

Finnair is a member of the Oneworld airline alliance. In 2013, it transported 9.2 million passengers to over 60 European and 13 Asian destinations.[8] As of March 2014, the airline employed 5,473 people.[9]



Convair 440 of Finnair at London in 1963 wearing the early postwar colour scheme
Finnair MD-87 at Stuttgart Airport, (1991)
A Finnair Airbus A300, (1995)
MD-11 decorated with Moomin characters
TOKE building 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, "AY", originates from this; AY stands for Aero Yhtiö which means "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 12 September 1923, and the company was entered into the trade register on 11 December 1923. The first flight was on 20 March 1924 from Helsinki to Tallinn, Estonia on a Junkers F.13 aircraft equipped with floats. The seaplane service ended in December 1936 following the construction of the first aerodromes in Finland.

World War II[edit]

Air raids on Helsinki and other Finnish cities made World War II a difficult period for the airline. Half the fleet was requisitioned by the Finnish Air Force and it is estimated that, during the Winter War of 1939 and 1940, half of the airline's passengers were children being evacuated to Sweden.

Immediate postwar period[edit]

The Finnish government acquired a majority stake in the company in 1946 and re-established services to Europe in November 1947, initially using the Douglas DC-3. In 1953, the airline began branding itself as Finnair. The Convair 440 twin-engined pressurised airliner was acquired from January 1953 and these faster aircraft were operated on the company's longer routes as far as London.

Jet Age (1970s)[edit]

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 25 June 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 15 May 1969.[citation needed] In the 1960s Finnair's head office was in Helsinki.[10]

Finnair received its first widebody aircraft in 1975, two DC-10-30 planes. The first of these arrived on 4 February 1975 and entered service on 14 February 1975, flying between Helsinki and Las Palmas.

In 1979, Finnair established a subsidiary company Finnaviation for domestic operations, with a 60% stake.[11]

Expansion (1980s)[edit]

In 1983, Finnair became the first operator to fly non-stop from Western Europe to Japan operating Helsinki-Tokyo flights with one McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30ER. Until then, flights had to go via Moscow (Aeroflot, SAS, BA) or Anchorage (most carriers)[12] due to Soviet airspace restrictions, but Finnair circumvented these by flying directly north from Helsinki, over the North Pole and back south through the Bering Strait, avoiding the Soviet airspace.[13] The aircraft was fitted with extra fuel tanks, taking 13 hours for the trip.[14] The routes through Soviet airspace and with a stopover in Moscow also took 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 nonstop Paris-Tokyo services over Soviet airspace, putting Finnair at a disadvantage.[15]

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

In 1989, Finnair became the launch customer for the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, the first of which was delivered on 7 December 1990. The first revenue service with the MD-11 took place on 20 December 1990, with OH-LGA operating a flight from Helsinki to Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

Operations on subsidiary airlines (1990s–2000s)[edit]

In 1997, the subsidiaries Kar-Air and Finnaviation became wholly owned by Finnair, and were integrated into the mainline operations.

On 25 September 1997, the company's official name was changed to Finnair Oyj.

In 1999, Finnair joined the Oneworld airline alliance.

In 2001, Finnair reused the name "Aero" when establishing Aero Airlines, a subsidiary airline based in Tallinn, Estonia.

In 2003, Finnair acquired ownership of the Swedish low-cost airline, FlyNordic, which operated mainly within Scandinavia. In 2007, Finnair sold all its shares in FlyNordic to Norwegian Air Shuttle. As part of the transaction, Finnair acquired 4.8% of the latter company, becoming its third largest shareholder. Finnair later sold their shares in 2013.[16]

On 8 March 2007, Finnair became the first airline to order the Airbus A350 XWB aircraft, placing an order for 11 Airbus A350 XWB (plus 8 options), with delivery to start in 2015.[17]

Labour disputes and restructuring (2006–present)[edit]

Finnair has suffered from many labour disputes in this period, resulting from cost-cutting measures prompted by competition from budget airlines.[18][19][20][21][22]

On 1 December 2011, Finnair transferred its baggage and apron services to Swissport International as per a five-year agreement signed on 7 November 2011. Mr Mika Vehviläinen, then CEO of Finnair, said: “Our aim is to further improve the quality, speed and cost effectiveness of our baggage handling and apron services. Swissport is a global player with extensive experience in ground services in international airports, and their competencies and processes are world-class.” [23]

On 13 August 2014, Finnair announced plans to initially deploy its A350-900 aircraft on services to Bangkok, Beijing and Shanghai from 2015, with A350 services to Hong Kong and Singapore to be added in 2016.

On 3 December 2014, it was announced that Finnair had firmed up the contract for 8 additional Airbus A350-900 aircraft deliveries starting in 2018.[17]

Corporate affairs[edit]


The State of Finland is the controlling shareholder (55.8%).[6][24] Finnair's stock is listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange.

As of early 2012, the Finnish government was considering decreasing its share of Finnair ownership below 50%.[25]

Subsidiaries and associates[edit]

Finnair Cargo building

Two subsidiary companies, Finnair Cargo Oy and Finnair Cargo Terminal Operations Oy, form Finnair's cargo business.[26] The offices of both companies are at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.[27][28]

Business trends[edit]

The key trends for Finnair over recent years are shown below (as at year ending 31 December):

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Turnover (€ m) 1,558 1,683 1,871 1,990 2,181 2,256 1,838 2,023 2,257 2,449 2,400 2,284
Profits (EBT) (€ m) −22 31 88 −15 139 −62 −125 −33 −111.5 16.5 11.9 −36.5
Number of employees (average) 9,981 9,522 9,447 9,598 9,480 9,595 8,797 7,578 7,467 6,784 5,859 4,981
Number of passengers (m) 6.8 8.1 8.5 8.8 8.7 8.3 7.4 7.1 8.0 8.8 9.2 9.6
Passenger load factor (%) 69.6 71.2 72.6 75.2 75.5 75.2 75.9 76.5 73.3 77.6 79.5 80.2
Number of aircraft (at year end) 59 69 69 72 62 65 68 63 65 60 70 67
Notes/sources [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40]

Head office[edit]

Finnair head office, House of Travel and Transportation
Finnair's previous head office, Tietotie 11, at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport

In 2013, Finnair opened its new head office, known as House of Travel and Transportation (or "HOTT"), on what used to be a car park right next to its previous head office located in Tietotie 11, in the grounds of Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. The construction of HOTT began in July 2011 and finished on time in June 2013. The previous head office had been in use since 1994, then replacing a head office located in Helsinki city centre.[41][42]

The new mixed-use head office has a total floor space of 70,000 square metres (750,000 sq ft) and 22,400 square metres (241,000 sq ft) of office space.[43]


Main article: Finnair destinations

From its Helsinki-Vantaa base Finnair flies to Asia, North America and an extensive regional network in Europe. The domestic and intra-European flights are partly carried out in cooperation with Flybe Nordic, operating an ATR/Embraer fleet.

Codeshare agreements[edit]

Finnair has codeshare agreements with Oneworld members: (as of July 2014):

In addition to Oneworld members, Finnair also has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:


Current fleet[edit]

A Finnair Airbus A320-214 lands at London Heathrow Airport (2014)
A Flybe Nordic Embraer 170 in Finnair livery at Joensuu Airport, (2011)
A Finnair Airbus A330-302E taking off from Phuket International Airport (2011)

As of March 2015, the Finnair fleet consists of the following aircraft:[44][45][46]

Finnair fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Options Passengers Notes
Airbus A319-100 9 0 0 138 138
Airbus A320-200 10 0 0 168 168
Airbus A321-200 6 0 0 196 196
5 0 0 209 209 First user of A321 with sharklets[47]
Airbus A330-300 5 45 40 178 263 [48][49]
3 32 40 213 285
Airbus A340-300 1 42 36 185 263 To be replaced by A350XWB by 2017


4 45 40 170 255
2 42 39 192 273
Airbus A350-900XWB 19 46 43 208 297 Deliveries starting in September 2015,[54] replacing A340[55][56]
Embraer 190 12 0 0 100 100 Operated by Flybe Nordic
Embraer 170 2 0 0 76 76 Operated by Flybe Nordic
Total 59 19 0

Previously operated[edit]

Finnair has previously operated the following equipment:[57]


Finnair Plus[edit]

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 Flybe Nordic (not for the domestic flight and only for the 2000 flight number series) in addition to those in the Oneworld alliance:

In addition to earning points on flights with Finnair and its partner airlines, Finnair Plus members can earn points through various hotel and car rental partners in Finland and around the world along with other service partners.

Finnair lounges[edit]

Finnair operates lounges at one airport:

The remaining international destinations are served with contract lounges.

Economy Comfort[edit]

Economy Comfort is Finnair's new premium economy product debuting on long haul aircraft December 2014. It will not be a separate class but more of an upgraded economy product, much like Delta's Economy Comfort class. Economy Comfort seats will be located in the first 5 rows of economy providing 34-36" of pitch(3-5" more pitch than standard economy seats) and a comfier headrest, plus noise canceling headphones and a comfort kit. Seats will be free to Finnair Plus and oneworld elites and passengers with a full fare coach ticket, and available to all other customers for a fee.

Blue Wings[edit]

Finnair's English-language in-flight magazine, Blue Wings, is published 10 times per year by the Finnish media group Sanoma. The first edition of Blue Wings magazine was published in 1980. There are domestic and international newspapers on all flights and magazines on long-haul flights in business class.

Meals and drinks[edit]

On most European flights, a cold salad or sandwich is served, together with non-alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages and additional food items are available for purchase. Domestic flights as well as shorter European flights have snacks for sale and free non-alcoholic beverages. Business class offers warm meals and free beverages, including alcohol. On most Intercontinental flights there is a choice of meals in economy class. In inter-continental business class on most Airbus aircraft (excluding those with fully lie-flat seats), there is a dedicated snack bar.[58]

In-flight entertainment[edit]

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 A330 and Airbus A340 aircraft have an AVOD personal entertainment system on all seats with about 72 movies, 150 TV shows, 200 music albums, 24 radio channels and 15 games.[59] In Airbus A321 Sharklet leisure flights, the cabin crew lends out Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 tablets for €10.[58][60]

Livery and uniforms[edit]


Finnair in retro livery

The company revealed a new livery in December 2010. Major changes include a restyled and larger lettering on the body, repainting of the engines in white, and a reversal of the color scheme for the tail fin favoring a white background with a blue stylized logo. The outline of the globe was also removed from the tail fin.[61]

Finnair has also used special liveries, including the "Moomins" and "Santa Claus", 1950s retro livery, Angry Birds, Marimekko-unikko and Oneworld.

Uniform of Finnair flight attendants[edit]

Finnair's previous cabin crew uniform was ranked as the fifth most stylish uniform by the French Bon Voyage magazine.[62] The current uniform was designed by Ritva-Liisa Pohjalainen and launched in December 2011. Finnair has codes to indicate the rank of crew member: one stripe in the sleeve for normal cabin attendant, two stripes for senior cabin crew (only for outsourced crew)acting as a purser in Hong Kong, Singapore and Spain flight, three stripes a purser. Additionally, female pursers have a white vertical stripe on their dresses or blouses. Finnair requires its cabin crew to wear gloves during take off and landing for safety reasons

Incidents and accidents[edit]

The company's only fatal accidents to date are the two DC-3 accidents in 1961 and 1963.


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External links[edit]