Finnair eyes expanding India-North America traffic

Tuesday, 16 October 2007, 07:00 Hrs
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New Delhi: Finnair wants to position itself as a major player in the growing air traffic between India and North America in the new vision the Finnish carrier has drawn up for itself.

"Finnair's Indian traffic, which has got off to a good start, makes it possible to open the fastest connections between North America and India, because Finland is situated along the shortest route," said the airline's Vision 2017 document.

"Demand between the two continents is expected to grow significantly. Changing aircrafts in Helsinki divides the trip into pleasant sections and offers the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport's vast services," it added.

The airline also said splitting a non-stop flight of 14 hours between India and the US also poses lesser burdens on the environment.

It hoped to offer the Indian customer more choices when some countries adopt open skies policy.

"The expected opening up of Russian air travel market in the future will offer new opportunities to complement the network," the airline added.

"We want to be a reliable and safe alternative in an uncertain world. We will take advantage of Helsinki's geographical location even more extensively," said Jukka Hienonen, Finnair president and chief executive.

With the present fleet expansion programme, Finnair's intercontinental fleet will increase to 20 wide-bodied aircraft by 2017, while total passenger number is expected to grow from current nine million to over 20 million, he added.

The airline said it hoped to increase its Asian destinations and frequencies in the future, having added as many as 50 flights between 2001 and now, to take the total to 59.

"Twelve weekly leisure flights are heading for destinations in Asia."

Finnair, which has been flying charters to Goa for over 20 years, started its scheduled flights from Delhi Oct 31 last year and has been flying daily from Helsinki to the Indian capital since May 19.

Mumbai was added to its schedule June 27 with five flights a week.
Source: IANS
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