LONDON – Finnish flag carrier Finnair has announced a modification to ten of the carrier’s Airbus A350 aircraft, thus increasing cargo and passenger capacity with a higher maximum takeoff weight.
The modification has been done alongside the aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, and the aircraft modifications also include minor changes and updates to the software and placards.
In an announcement by Finnair on January 30, the carrier revealed the modifications to ten of their flagship Airbus A350s for increased cargo and passenger capacity, as the capacity increases for Finnair’s Asian travel market.
Alongside Airbus, Finnair adjusted the maximum take-off weight (MTOW) for specially selected aircraft. The modifications also involves minor changes to the airframe’s software, placards and operating manuals.
The changes and modifications have been applied to the airframes that regularly serve the routes to Seoul and Tokyo, which are the two longer intercontinental routes operated by Finnair at this time.
Following the closure of Russian airspace as a result of the Ukraine war, each route to the Asian regions has been made significantly longer as the aircraft either follow a far north or southern routing.
This causes flight plans to involve more fuel as increased fuel usage becomes a relative factor to the operations. Though, the normally lighter maximum take-off weight restricted passenger and cargo allowed to be carried.
The modifications make for increased take-off weights and greater capacity for the flights and operations are a part of Finnair’s movement towards profitability in spite of increased flight times and airspace closures.
The modifications were completed the first two weeks of January, and the first flight with the new upgrades took flight on January 18.
Leena Niemi, Finnair Compliance Manager for Technical Operation, commented on the upgrades:
“Usually we do everything we can to make our aircraft lighter, but for our flights to Tokyo and Seoul we’ve increased their maximum take-off weight to fly around Russia and meet the demand for increased customers, cargo and kerosene.”
“While making the modifications, the safety and security of our aircraft and customers remained our number one priority.”
“In addition, the weight and balance data for the modified aircraft have been updated, the noise certificates of the aircraft have been renewed, and the aircraft maintenance program and life limits of the main landing gear parts have been updated,” she concluded.
The Finnish national airline will resume flights between Helsinki and Osaka with three weekly flights and add frequencies to Tokyo Narita Airport.
Finnair is also adding frequencies to Hong Kong and Delhi, operating daily to both of these cities during the 2023 summer season.
The Helsinki–Osaka route is operated on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and Osaka–Helsinki on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays as of 26 March.
Helsinki–Tokyo Narita flights are operated on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and Tokyo Narita–Helsinki on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays as of 27 March.
Finnair will also operate daily flights to Tokyo Haneda airport during the summer season.
Ole Orvér, Chief Commercial Officer at Finnair commented on the proposed Asian services, saying: “We are happy to be able to respond to the increasing travel demand between Europe and key Asian destinations.”
“In summer 2023, we will be operating altogether 14 weekly connections between Finland and Japan, and we have daily connections to Delhi and Hong Kong.”
“The Helsinki Airport with its spacious new facilities offers an excellent experience both for customers visiting Finland and for those who continue onwards to one of our many European destinations,” he concluded.
Finnair flight schedules connect smoothly to Finnair’s vast network in Europe.
Finnair’s flights between Helsinki and Japan are operated in codeshare with Finnair’s long-term partners Japan Airlines and British Airways, offering more choice and flexibility for customers traveling between Europe and Japan.