Finnair serves up 35 years of flights to China

posted on 2nd June 2023 by Eddie Saunders
Finnair serves up 35 years of flights to China

Finnair is celebrating 35 years of flying to China and connecting Asia with Europe.

This major milestone for the Nordic carrier comes as it also celebrates its centenary as one of the earliest pioneers in aviation.

Finnair’s first flight to China took off on 2 June 1988, with a new non-stop service to Beijing, becoming the first Western European airline to offer non-stop flights between Europe and China.

This exciting route followed five years after Finnair launched its revolutionary service to Japan in 1983.

This was due to technological advancements with extra fuel tanks on their DC-10 aircraft, enabling it to fly via the North Pole to facilitate the shortest routes between Europe and Asia possible.

Thanks to its geographic position based at Helsinki, Finnair was able to act as a bridge between Europe and Asia across the short northern route enabling it to continue its expansion across the region.

The launch of services to Shanghai in 2003 made Finnair the only Northern European and oneworld airline to offer direct flights to Shanghai at the time.

Finnair was also the first carrier to open a non-stop route between Europe and Chongqing in 2012, and became the only European carrier offering a direct connection between Europe and Xi’An the following year.

Before the advent of the pandemic and the closure of Russian airspace following the invasion of Ukraine Finnair flew to more destinations in China than any other European carrier, serving seven destinations in China, including Beijing Capital Airport, Shanghai, Chongqing, Xi’An, Guangzhou, Nanjing, and Daxing International Airport in Beijing.

However, Finnair has recently restored a select number of services to mainland China, beginning with the resumption of flights to Shanghai on 23 July 2020, which now operates twice a week. Finnair also operates a daily flight between Helsinki and Hong Kong.

Anssi Partanen, Finnair Market Manager UK & Ireland, said: “Finnair is proud to be celebrating 35 years of flying to mainland China this year – and acting as a bridge connecting Europe with Asia.

“Despite the turbulence of recent years, especially following the closure of Russian airspace, we have continued to serve China and enable Finnair customers to fly easily and seamlessly from Europe to key destinations in Asia.

“While our strategy may have evolved to adapt to recent political developments with increased services to North America, we are committed to connecting our customers with China and look forward to flying more Finnair flights to Asia in the future.”