Finnair will begin daily Airbus A350 flights between Hong Kong and Helsinki this week, with Singapore slated to see the next-gen jetliner later this year.
Asia is a growing market for Finnair, and both of those business hubs double as gateways for Australians booked on the Oneworld airline and Qantas partner.
"Australia is by far Finnair’s largest ‘offline’ market," says Geoff Stone, Finnair country manager for Australia and New Zealand. "In fact it generates more traffic and revenue than some countries to which Finnair flies directly."
This underscores a continued preference by Australian business travellers to transit via Singapore or Hong Kong, with some travellers booking a route which takes in both cities.
"We have some customers who like to go up via Singapore and come back via Hong Kong, or vice versa" Stone recounts. "There are many companies that have offices in both cities, so this allows customers to visit those in each direction."
Hong Kong "is becoming increasingly popular" as Finnair's Aussie launching pad, Stone adds, driven by the higher number of flights between Australia and Hong Kong compared to Singapore.
"We have both Qantas and Cathay Pacific connecting through Hong Kong," Stone says, with Cathay Pacific offering multiple daily flights from most major Australian cities, "whereas to Singapore we only have Qantas, so there is more availability."
Finnair will expand its Hong Kong footprint to double daily flights across northern summer, with the A350 joined by an Airbus A330, while Singapore will switch from an Airbus A340 to the modern A350 "in the third quarter."
"The two oldest A340s have also exited out fleet, so we have fully flat business class seating in all of our aircraft now," Stone says.
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