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Finnair Plc is Finlandmarker's largest airline and flag carrier, with its headquarters in Vantaamarker, Finland, and its main hub at Helsinki-Vantaa Airportmarker. Finnair and its subsidiary companies dominate both the domestic and international air travel markets in Finland. The largest owner is the Government of Finland with 55.8% of the shares. Finnair is a member of the Oneworld alliance. In 2006, the airline transported 8.8 million passengers, on a network of 15 domestic and 55 international destinations. In addition there are about 50 seasonal charter-flight destinations. Skytrax ranks Finnair as a 4 star airline.


In 1923, consul Bruno Lucander founded Finnair as Aero O/Y (Aero Ltd). The company code originates from this AY = Aero Yhtiö ie. company in Finnish. Lucander had previously run the Finnish operations of the Estonian airline Aeronaut. In mid-1923 he concluded an agreement with Junkers Flugzeugwerke AG to provide aircraft and technical support in exchange for a 50% ownership in the new airline. The charter establishing the company was signed in Helsinkimarker on September 12, 1923 and the company was entered into the trade register on December 11, 1923. The first flight was flown on March 20, 1924 from Helsinki to Tallinnmarker, Estoniamarker with Junkers F.13 aircraft equipped with floats. The last seaplane service was operated in December 1936 following the construction of the first aerodromes in Finland.

Air raids on Helsinkimarker and other Finnish cities made World War II a difficult period for the airline. The company saw half of its fleet requisitioned by the Finnish Air Force during that time, and it is estimated that during the Winter War of 1939 and 1940 half of the airline's passengers were children for evacuation to Swedenmarker.

In 1946, the Finnish government acquired a majority stake in the company and re-established services to Europe on November 1, 1947. In 1953, the name Finnair was adopted as the airline's name. In 1961, Finnair joined the jet age by adding Rolls-Royce Avon-engined Caravelle to its fleet. These were later exchanged with the manufacturer for Pratt & Whitney JT8D-engined Super Caravelles. In 1962 Finnair acquired a 27% controlling interest in a private Finnish airline, Kar-Air. Finnair Oy became the company's official name on June 25, 1968. In 1969, it took possession of its first U.S. mademarker jet, a Douglas DC-8. The first transatlantic service to New Yorkmarker was inaugurated on May 15, 1969.

Finnair received its first widebody aircraft in 1970 when it ordered two McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 aircraft. The first of these arrived on February 4, 1970 and entered service on february 14th 1975 with service to Las Palmas from Helsinki.

In 1979 Finnair established a subsidiary company Finnaviation for domestic operations, with a 60% stake.

In 1983, Finnair became the first operator to fly non-stop from Western Europe to Japanmarker when Helsinki-Tokyomarker flights with one McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30ER aircraft were started. Up until then, flights either had to go via Moscow (Aeroflot, SAS, BA) or Anchorage (most carriers), but Finnair circumvented this requirement by flying directly north from Helsinki, over the North Pole and back south through the Bering Straitmarker, avoiding the Soviet airspace. The aircraft was also fitted with extra fuel tanks, taking 13 hours for the trip. The routes through Soviet airspace and with a stopover in Moscow took the same 13 hours, but flights with a stopover at Anchorage took up to 16 hours, giving Finnair a competitive edge. In the spring of 1986, Soviet regulators finally cleared the way for Air France and Japan Airlines to fly non-stop Paris-Tokyo services over Soviet airspace, putting Finnair at a disadvantage.

In 1988, Finnair launched a Helsinki-Beijing route, making Finnair the first Western European carrier to fly non-stop between Europe and Chinamarker.

In 1987 Finnair became the launch customer for the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, the first of which was delivered on December 7, 1990. The first revenue service with the MD-11 took place on December 20, 1990, with OH-LGA operating a flight from Helsinki to Tenerifemarker in the Canary Islandsmarker.

Both Kar-Air and Finnaviation became wholly owned by Finnair and were integrated into the mainline operations in 1997. On September 25, 1997 Finnair Oyj (Finnair Plc) became the company's official name. In 1999, Finnair joined the Oneworld alliance. In 2001, Finnair recycled the Aero name again and established Aero Airlines, an airline based in Tallinnmarker, Estoniamarker. In 2003 Finnair acquired ownership of the Swedish low-cost airline, FlyNordic, which operates mainly within Scandinavia.

The State of Finland is the controlling shareholder (57.04%). Finnair's stock is listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. As of March 2007, the airline employed 9,447 staff. Finnair is the sixth oldest airline in the world with uninterrupted existence. With no fatal or hull-loss accidents since 1963, it has also been ranked one of the safest airlines in the world.

2009 strike action

On 16 November, 800 pilots started full strike action grounding almost all scheduled domestic and international flights as negotiations led by National Conciliator Esa Lonka broke down, some flights affecting 5,500 passengers were cancelled the day before. Finnish Air Line Pilots Association (SLL) protested the use of outsourced pilots on board Finnair planes but agreed to pay cuts, reduced benefits and a higher retirement age. Some of the domestic routes that have been shut down would be temporarily served by codeshare partner Finncomm Airlines and congestion would be eased by added capacity from railway company VR. International routes would be served by alternate airlines where possible. Financial losses are said to be within EUR2.5-5 million a day. The issue has since then been resolved and all routes will be running at full capacity by the 23rd of November..


From its Helsinki-Vantaa base Finnair flies to Asia and North America, and is now extending its European operations with the introduction of Embraer jets. The domestic operations are partly carried out in cooperation with Finncomm Airlines, operating an ATR/Embraer fleet.


Current fleet

The Finnair fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of 4 October 2009):
Finnair Fleet
Aircraft Total Passengers Notes
Airbus A319-100 11 105-123
Airbus A320-200 12 111–159
Airbus A321-200 6 136–196
Airbus A330-300 4
(4 orders
4 options)

271 (42/229) Last 4 aircraft to enter service in 2010.
Airbus A340-300 5 269 (42/227)
Airbus A350-900 XWB (11 orders
4 options)
TBA First aircraft to enter service in 2014
Boeing 757-200WL 7 227 Charter
Embraer 170 8+2 76 Two aircraft leased to Finncomm
Embraer 190 10
(3 orders)
100 Entry into service: 3 2010–11
McDonnell Douglas MD-11 3 282 (36/246) 2 planes fly to BKK vv. 1 is a reserve

  • The average age of Finnair's fleet is 6.2 years as of August 31, 2009.


Previously operated


Finnair Plus

Finnair Plus is Finnair's frequent-flyer programme. Passengers are awarded points based on the type and class of flight flown. Once enough miles are banked into the passenger's account, a membership tier (Basic, Silver, Gold or Platinum) is awarded. There is a Junior tier exclusively for minors. Silver, Gold, and Platinum members have privileges such as premium check-in desks and priority boarding.

Finnair offers frequent-flyer partnerships with the following airlines, in addition to those in the Oneworld alliance:

Finnair lounges

Finnair operates lounges at two airports:

The remaining international destinations are served with contract lounges.

Blue Wings

Finnair's in-flight magazine, Blue Wings, is published 10 times per year by the Finnish media group Sanoma, in English and Finnish. The first edition of Blue Wings magazine was published in 1980. The magazine 'Lento' is also published and presents in-flight information, such as the on-board shop and route information. There are domestic and international newspapers on all flights and magazines on long-haul flights in business class.

Meals and drinks

On most European flights, operated with Airbus aircraft and lasting longer than two hours, warm meals are served in both classes. On shorter European flights or Embraer economy class a cold meal or snack is served with free non-alcoholic drinks, beer and wine. On most Intercontinental flights there are a choice of meals in economy class. In inter-continental business class on Airbus aircraft, there is dedicated snack bar.

In-flight entertainment

All Finnair aircraft have LCD video monitors or personal entertainment systems except the Embraer 170s and 190s. Airbus A320 series aircraft have monitors showing exterior shots, Moving-map systems and mute television programs. Airbus A340 and A330 have an AVOD personal entertainment system on all seats with about 25 movies, several TV shows, 60 music albums, radio channels and games. MD-11 and Boeing 757 have overhead monitors with Airshow map system, movies and TV shows in Economy class. MD-11 Business class seats have either a personal monitor with nine TV channels or a DVD player with a choice of movies.


Finnair has used special liveries including the "Moomins" and "Santa Claus", 1950s retro livery and Oneworld.


Finnair cabin crew uniform was ranked as the fifth most stylish uniform by the French Bon Voyage magazine. Finnair has codes to indicate the rank of crew member: one stripe in the sleeve means normal cabin attendant, two stripes means a service chef (this rank no longer bears any special role within the crew) and three stripes a purser. Male cabin crew wear ties with plane symbols on them and the pilots wear ties with compass symbols. Yellow ties and scarfs are worn on leisure flights. Finnair requires its cabin attendants to wear gloves during take off or landing for safety reasons.

Codeshare agreements

Finnair has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:

* - also members of oneworld.

Incidents and accidents

  • On 16 November 1927 a Aero O/Y Junkers F.13 disappeared en route from Tallinnmarker to Helsinkimarker. The aircraft was carrying two Finnish officers and the pilot. Probably got lost, landed on water and sank.
  • On 10 November 1937, an Aero O/Y Junkers Ju 52 nose engine dropped off into the sea during a scheduled flight from Turkumarker to Stockholmmarker. The pilots managed to land safely with two remaining engines. A broken propeller blade had caused a severe imbalance tearing the engine off its mounting.
  • On 14 June 1940 - Kaleva Shootdown, an Aero Junkers Ju52-3/mge aircraft flying from Tallinn to Helsinki was shot down by two Sovietmarker bombers over the Gulf of Finlandmarker. At that time there was no war between Soviet Union and Finland. There is strong evidence the plane was carrying secret documents away from Tallinn.
  • On 3 January 1961 - Aero Flight 311, a DC-3 that was being flown by alcohol-intoxicated and sleep-deprived pilots crashed in Kvevlaxmarker, Finland (Koivulahti in Finnish), with a loss of all 25 on board. The accident remains the worst in Finnish aviation history.
  • On 8 November 1963 - Aero Flight 217, a DC-3 crash that was attributed to a malfunctioning altimeter in the pilot-in-command's set of instruments occurred on a non-precision (non-ILS) approach to Mariehamnmarker, Åland Islandsmarker under poor visibility, with a loss of 22 passengers and crew. 2 passengers and a flight attendant survived the crash. ILS equipment had been ordered for the airport, but local land use disputes had prevented an installation. The aircraft, having departed Turku against the standing regulations regarding such a poor visibility at the destination, had aligned itself correctly with respect to the runway, but sank, hit a knoll shortly before the runway and caught fire.


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  12. Finnair : Travel
  14. 1940 Ju 52 crash
  15. 1961 DC-3 crash
  16. 1963 DC-3 crash

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