LONDON – Finnair has announced that it will launch direct flights between Helsinki and Tokyo’s Haneda on October 30, in a major boost for the airline’s Asian platform.
Flights will operate daily to Haneda and will complement the twice-weekly flights to Narita that the airline is already operating at present.
It is understood that the flights will depart Helsinki at 1755 local time and will arrive in Haneda at 1425 local time the following afternoon. As for the return, it will depart Haneda at 2155 local time and arrive back in Helsinki at 0425 local time the following morning.
UK travelers look set to benefit from this route as the flights have been timed specifically to allow for easy connections from its respective airports of Heathrow, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Dublin.
Expanding more on this was Andrew Fish, the General Manager of UK & Ireland at Benelux;
“The launch of Finnair flights to Tokyo-Haneda marks a major milestone in the resumption of services to Japan and Asia.
“We know customers will appreciate the return of the shorter northern route between Europe and Japan even with the closure of Russian airspace and quick connections between flights at our Helsinki hub.”
Demand Outpacing Higher Costs During The Ukraine Crisis?
There is a question to be asked from this: Is demand for flights to Asia outpacing the higher costs caused by the ongoing Ukraine Crisis?
Back in March, Finnair documented the resumption of its Tokyo-Narita services which occurred on March 9, detailing how it is making the most out of the Russian airspace closures.
As seen in the image above, Finnair had to use the Polar route, which takes the aircraft northbound rather than eastbound, which the flight normally does.
Planning the Flight Was No Issue…
Flight time in this instance was 12 hours and 54 minutes, which was down to careful and incredible planning, as explained by Aleksi Kuosmanen, a Finnair Airbus A350 Captain & Deputy Fleet Chief:
“Well-planned is half done. Hours and hours of careful planning preceded this flight to ensure a smooth and safe journey.”
“Our latest ten A350 aircraft are certified for ETOPS 300 minutes and adopting that required certain regulatory work and updating related maintenance procedures”.
“The A350 is very resilient against cold air masses. For example, the fuel system is built in a way so that cold air masses rarely restrict our operations.”
“We prepared a detailed route briefing document for the polar route, and my job on the first flight was to validate this document so that all of our pilots know exactly what to expect”.
“With this kind of excellent flight planning, the actual flying was just like a regular day in the office. The only noticeable difference was that the good old magnetic compass that we have in the flight deck went a bit haywire”.
Making the Most out of a Bad Situation…
With Finnair having to operate the flights like this, it is the first time in nearly 30 years that it has had to do so.
In typical Finnish positivity, the airline used this to its advantage by awarding certificates to passengers with some stickers to certify that you have flown over the North Pole, which is a very cool touch.
This backs up the tradition that took place as far as 1983 when passengers who flew to Tokyo with the carrier received a similar type of certificate.
What remains clear is that Finnair is determined to ensure that passengers are not that affected by these airspace closures and will do their best, in their true form, to make the best out of what is a bad situation for the airline industry at present.