Finnair launches long-haul Airbus A350 flights from Sweden


Finnair launched Stockholm Arlanda in Bangkok, Phuket and Miami, driven by the gap left by Norwegian, rising demand for leisure and falling demand in its main Asian markets. New York JFK and Los Angeles will be coming from Arlanda in the next two months.

Finnair will offer five long-haul routes from Stockholm this winter. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr.

Finnair starts in Bangkok, Phuket and Miami

The Finnish national carrier now operates long-haul routes from Sweden. On October 22, its first flight between Stockholm Arlanda and Bangkok was launched, followed the next day by Miami and on October 24 by the very popular Thai resort of Phuket. This is one of the many developments of Arlanda, Ryanair and Eurowings also establishing bases at the airport.

Finnair uses seventh freedom traffic rights, which allows it to operate stand-alone services that do not affect Finland. This free air is rarely used and is only really possible because Sweden and Finland are EU nations. Very few other long-haul carriers use it.

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Only the A350-900 is in use from Sweden, with inaugural flights on all three routes using two 336-seat planes: OH-LWR and OH-LWP. These heavy economy planes have 262 seats in economy class, 42 in premium economy class and 32 in business class. The 336-seat layout is Finnair’s densest configuration; they have a quarter of more economy class seats than its 297-seat A350s.

Two weekly flights each

Finnair offers two flights per week to Miami, Bangkok and Phuket. The two Thai destinations face competition from Thai Airways (Bangkok twice a week; Phuket every week). Miami, meanwhile, has two weekly flights with SAS.

Finnair’s schedule for the first week of November is as follows (all times are local). Note that the schedules are then different – in the first week of the aeronautical winter – than in the current week.

  • FY17: Arlanda in Miami, Wednesdays and Sundays; 2:20 p.m. – 7:55 p.m.
  • FY18: Miami to Arlanda, Wednesdays and Sundays, 9:45 p.m.-11:45 a.m. + 1 the next day
  • AY145: Arlanda in Bangkok, Mondays and Thursdays; 4:25 p.m. – 9:15 a.m. + 1 the next day
  • AY146: from Bangkok to Arlanda, Tuesdays and Fridays; 10:55 a.m.-4:25 p.m.
  • AY153: Arlanda in Phuket, Thursdays and Sundays; 4:55 p.m. – 10:30 a.m. + 1 the next day
  • AY154: from Phuket to Arlanda, on Mondays and Fridays; 12.15 p.m.-6.30 p.m.
Finnair A350-900
On October 23, Finnair positioned OH-LWP from Helsinki to Arlanda on a normal scheduled flight to the Swedish capital (AY801). It landed at 7:50 a.m., turned around, and made the maiden flight to Miami, Florida. Photo: Benjamin Helander via Flickr.

JFK and Los Angeles are coming

Los Angeles will join Bangkok, Phuket and Miami from November 2 (three weeks) and New York JFK from December 7 (initially three weeks, then will grow to four weeks). Neither route will have direct competition, although SAS, a member of the Star Alliance, serves Newark.

Part of the reason Finnair’s focus on the United States is that its core Asian network is still in significant decline. This has led to a greater focus on North America, with capacity in the region now 9% higher than 2019 levels. As the carrier’s CEO recently said:

“If we look at the immediate, we are looking for possibilities to redeploy capacity, temporarily, for example to North America, while awaiting the return of Asia.

Additionally, Bangkok, JFK, and Los Angeles were chosen due to gaps left by Norwegian’s release, with SAS in Los Angeles (which ended in 2020). Meanwhile, Phuket and Miami are popular winter destinations for Scandinavians.

What do you think of Finnair from Stockholm? Let us know in the comments.

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