Skytrax: Finnair awarded “Best Airline in Northern Europe” for the 8th year in a row

Courtesy: Finnair.

Finnair has been named, for the eighth consecutive year, as Northern Europe’s Best Airline at the World Airline Awards at the Paris Air Show.

Organised by Skytrax, the results are based on an independent survey of more than 19 million passengers from 105 countries that took place between August 2016 to May 2017 covering 325 airlines.

“We are proud that Finnair has once again been recognised by Skytrax and passengers from across the world as the Best Airline in Northern Europe. We are committed to providing the very best experience to our passengers throughout their journey and we constantly develop our service both on the ground and in the air while staying true to our renowned Nordic hospitality”, said Piia Karhu SVP, Customer Experience at Finnair.

Finnair has invested significantly in their growing A350 fleet and customer experience from the point of booking through to check-in and on board service.

Piia Karhu continued: “Finnair will continue to enhance our great personal customer service by innovating the travel experience by using the latest digital solutions to enhance the customer experience. We now have our Nordic Sky Wi-Fi portal installed on every long haul aircraft and the use of our mobile app has continued to grow.”

Continuing the digital trend, in 2017 Finnair was the first airline in the world to launch Alipay onboard, in addition, successful face recognition trials were conducted at Helsinki Airport check-in with Finnair frequent fliers.

“Digital transformation is one of our core strategic targets, however, we continue to develop all areas of the customer experience such as our well-received collaboration with top chefs in our long-haul Business Class cabins and our enhanced lounge experience in conjunction with new partnerships”, notes Piia Karhu.

The World Airline Awards by Skytrax are regarded as the primary benchmarking tool for passenger satisfaction levels of airlines throughout the world. The passenger survey analyses customer satisfaction for the overall airline passenger experience, at both the airport and on board the aircraft: check-in to boarding, seat comfort, cabin cleanliness, food, beverages, in-flight entertainment and staff service.

Source: Finnair.

Finnair and Finavia test face recognition technology at Helsinki Airport check-in

Courtesy: Finavia.

Finnair and Finavia, together with Futurice, will test the use of face recognition technology for the check-in process of Finnair flights at Helsinki Airport. During the test period taking place between May 2 until May 23, the companies will gather information on the applicability of face recognition technology to the airport environment and the systems and processes used by the airline. Finnair has invited a group of 1,000 frequent flyers to take part in the test.

“Face recognition technology could offer possibilities for smoothening the departure process from the customer’s point of view, and eliminate the need for a boarding pass,” says Sari Nevanlinna , Head of Ground Experience and Ancillary at Finnair. “This test will give us information on the applicability of face recognition technology for our processes, and the impact it has on the customer experience.”

Finnair customers taking part in the test will use a test application to send their face portraits to the test system. When checking in to their flights, customers will use a designated check-in desk, where the face recognition technology will be installed. A customer service agent will then check the customer’s travel information and indicate in the test system if the face recognition was successful.

“We want to make air travel flow even smoother and be involved in further developing the customer experience,” says Heikki Koski , Vice President of Helsinki Airport for Finavia. “Facial recognition is part of the larger megatrend of biometric recognition, and it will enable “Hands in the pockets” travelling, where you no longer need any travel documents. When all travel-related information is digitized, it takes less time and is easier to get through the checkpoints at the airport. Last year, we tested facial recognition technology at the employee security control and the results were very encouraging.”

The system used in the test is provided by Futurice, and built using widely available hard- and software as well as cloud-based services, and with a strong view to the customer experience.

“We use face feature based face recognition technology, which turns facial images into untraceable biometrics IDs,” says Tuğberk Duman , Project Manager at Futurice. This enables us to identify registered passengers on the go without having to store images. This test will provide useful information on the use of this solution for environments with large customer flows and tight security needs.”

Source: Finnair.

Finnair takes delivery of its seventh A350 aircraft and closes a sale and leaseback agreement

Courtesy: Finnair.

Courtesy: Finnair.

Finnair has finalised an arrangement, already announced last year as a memorandum of understanding, by which Finnair sells the Airbus A350 aircraft delivered today, to GE Capital Aviation Services Limited (“GECAS”) and leases back the aircraft for its own operation. The initial lease period is 12 years, and the lease includes extension options.

The arrangement has a positive, non-recurring effect of approximately 40 million euro on Finnair’s operating profit for the third quarter of 2016, including a gain on sale and currency gains on pre-delivery payments and hedges.

As stated previously, a similar agreement is also in place for Finnair’s next A350 aircraft, which will materialise at the time of delivery, currently anticipated in the first quarter of 2017.

Finnair has ordered a total of 19 new A350-900 XWB aircraft from Airbus and has now received seven. According to the currently anticipated delivery schedule, Finnair will have 11 A350 aircraft by the end of 2017 and 19 by the end of 2023.

Disclosures on the financing arrangements for the A350 aircraft will be made as the agreements are finalized. Finnair’s fleet consists of both owned and leased aircraft.

Source: Finnair.

Summer 2017: Finnair opens new routes to San Francisco and Alicante

Courtesy: Finnair.

Courtesy: Finnair.

In line with its growth strategy, Finnair has announced that it will open a new seasonal route from Helsinki to San Francisco in June 2017. The airline will operate three weekly flights between both cities from June 1 to September 30. The flights will be operated on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

Thanks to Helsinki’s geographical location, Finnair’s new northern route to San Francisco will offer competitive travel times for customers from Scandinavia, the Baltics, Russia as well as from many European cities. San Francisco will be Finnair’s fourth US destination, along with New York, Chicago and Miami. The new San Francisco flight will be operated within the Atlantic joint business between Finnair, American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia. The joint business offers customers additional flight choices, better connections and better pricing on transatlantic routes. Currently, the four airlines operate over 100 daily return flights between Europe and North America.

“We are very pleased to be taking another step forward in the growth of our airline as San Francisco is an exciting new destination for all of our customers,” says Juha Järvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Finnair. “In the same way as when Finnair flies to Asia, the northern position of our Helsinki hub will also present a quick alternative for our connecting European customers flying to North America’s West Coast.”

Finnair will also add capacity to Spain, by opening a new route to Alicante with up to four weekly flights between March 26 and October 27. In addition, Finnair will also increase its flights to Malaga with two additional weekly flights between June and July, increasing frequencies to a total of eleven weekly flights. Last month, Finnair also announced new routes to Ibiza and Menorca for the summer 2017 season.

Source: Finnair.

Finnair to offer state-of-the-art Wi-Fi connection for its entire Airbus short-haul fleet

Courtesy: Finnair.

Courtesy: Finnair.

Finnair has signed an agreement with ViaSat Inc., a global broadband services and technology company, to install a high-speed wireless internet network on its entire Airbus A320 series short-haul fleet flying in Europe. The installation of the Wi-Fi equipment will begin in May 2017, and will be completed by June 2018.

With a connection speed of 12 Mbps or higher per passenger, the new system will offer the fastest in-flight internet connection currently available on the market, which will also enable the use of increasingly popular video streaming services. ViaSat will ensure end-to-end in-flight connectivity service across the Finnair fleet, and has partnered with Eutelsat to deliver the high-speed satellite-based internet service, which will cover the entire European continent.

“Our customers increasingly value the possibility of being connected during their flights and this change will also create great opportunities for Finnair to further develop its in-flight portal that will serve customers with news, entertainment and great shopping opportunities on their portable devices,” says Piia Karhu , SVP, Customer Experience Development at Finnair. “We are very pleased to partner with ViaSat on this project as we will be able to offer our customers the best possible Wi-Fi offering available on the market today, and that has the ability to scale, once the installations are completed.”

“Finnair is a forward-looking airline that is recognized worldwide for customer service,” says Don Buchman , vice president and general manager, Commercial Mobility at ViaSat. “With the ViaSat in-flight  Wi-Fi system, enabled across Europe by Eutelsat’s service, Finnair can deliver greater value to its customers by giving them the freedom to use their own device to engage with the internet in new ways   – from enhanced online shopping to out-of-the-box online entertainment experiences.”

Last July, Finnair announced that its entire long-haul fleet of Airbus A330 aircraft would be retrofitted with Wi-Fi connectivity by May 2017. Finnair is currently operating six A350-XWB aircraft which already offer wireless connectivity for its passengers. The airline is expected to receive an additional five A350 aircraft by the end of next year. With both the long-haul and short-haul fleet set to offer internet connectivity by June 2018, over a thousand route pairs in Finnair’s network will offer Wi-Fi connectivity for transiting passengers. Additionally, Finnair’s Wi-Fi coverage over Chinese airspace has recently been opened, having been closed previously due to limitations by the authorities.

Finnair’s wireless internet access is free for Business class passengers, Finnair  Plus  Gold and Platinum customers, and  one world  Sapphire and Emerald level customers. Economy class passengers can purchase  i nternet access at an hourly rate or for the duration of the flight.

Source: Finnair.

Summer 2017: Finnair announces new routes to Reykjavik, Corfu, Menorca and Ibiza; increases capacity to UK and Ireland

Courtesy: Finnair.

Courtesy: Finnair.

In line with its growth strategy, Finnair is adding four new short haul routes to its summer 2017 traffic program. Between April 11 and October 28, Finnair will fly four weekly flights to Reykjavik. Iceland’s lively and modern capital offers an interesting contrast in the land of desolate moonscapes, roiling seas and snow-capped mountains. Reykjavik is within a short daytrip to many of Iceland’s spectacular sights; including the well-known Golden Circle route, which comprises highlights such as the roaring Gullfoss falls, the geothermally-active Haukadalur valley and the world-famous Geysir geyser. Finnair’s new route to Reykjavik will complement the airline’s pre-existing codeshare on services operated by partner Icelandair, offering customers an even greater range of travel options. Once opened, Finnair’s route will offer one of the fastest connections between Asia and Iceland.

In addition to the new route to Reykjavik for the summer 2017 season, Finnair will also fly weekly to Corfu, Greece and Menorca, Spain on Sundays. Between June 17 and August 12, Finnair will also operate a new weekly flight to Ibiza, Spain on Saturdays.

Finnair is also increasing its capacity in the UK market for the summer 2017 season as it will continue its Edinburgh route with up to 5 weekly flights. Additionally, Finnair’s morning flights to and from London will fly with the state-of-the-art A350 aircraft during the summer 2017 season.

Finnair will also increase its flight capacity to Dublin, Ireland. As of March 27, Finnair will fly up to nine weekly flights between Helsinki and Dublin, operating a mix of A319 and E90 aircraft during the 2017 summer season. Compact and easy to explore on foot, Dublin is filled with historical monuments, museums and theatres while street views range from classic Georgian architecture to hypermodern landmarks.

“Reykjavik is a fantastic tourist destination and we are very pleased to be able to offer this exciting route to our customers as well as the additional weekly frequencies to other great summer destinations,” says Juha Järvinen, Chief Commercial Officer, Finnair. “All in all, these announcements fit in very nicely with our growth strategy and we are confident our customers will be very happy with these new additions.”

Source: Finnair.

Finnair adds fifth destination in Sweden, opens code share to Västerås in cooperation with NextJet

Courtesy: Finnair.

Courtesy: Finnair.

Finnair adds Västerås in Central Sweden to its network, with a code share on the new NextJet route between Helsinki and Västerås, with flights starting on September 15.

The route is operated with three return flights on weekdays, one on Saturdays and two on Sundays, with smooth connections to Finnair’s Asian and European network.

“The new Västerås route expands our reach in Sweden, and adds yet another destination to our strong European network, with timetables designed for smooth connections via our Helsinki Hub,” says Juha Järvinen , Chief Commercial Officer, Finnair.

The code share is a part of Finnair’s expansion in Sweden, and increases Finnair’s Swedish destinations to five. Finnair flies daily to Arlanda and Bromma in Stockholm, to Gothenburgh in the west coast of Sweden, and as of September 1, to Umeå in cooperation with Swedish regional airline BRA.

Source: Finnair.