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Finnair aims to ensure Asian fleet expansion

Travel News Asia Tuesday, 18 July 2006

Finnair has ensured its long-haul fleet expansion despite Airbus announcing that it has postponed the release of its new generation A350 aircraft type due to technical modifications.

Finnair and aircraft manufacturer Airbus Industrie have negotiated on arrangements to compensate the changes to Finnairs fleet renewal programme caused by the delay in the release of the new model.

We are pleased that we will be acquiring an even better aircraft than we originally ordered in December 2005. Naturally the changes in the release timetable require us to make adjustments, but we have negotiated on these interim arrangements with Airbus in a constructive atmosphere. Our  long-haul traffic growth will continue and our fleet renewal programme is moving forward, said Finnair Deputy CEO and head of Scheduled Passenger Traffic Henrik Arle.

The new generation long-haul aircraft Airbus A350 was to be launched in Finnair long-haul traffic in spring 2012. Due to development modification to be made on the model, the first aircraft will now join the Finnair fleet in 2013.

We have begun the implementation of the Airbus A340 wide-bodied aircraft to our fleet. We will now increase the number of A340s in service annually until deliveries of the ordered A350s begin. Operation of our Boeing MD-11s will continue in the coming years and our leasing agreements contain flexible conditions for extending the lease periods. The basis of our arrangement with Airbus is that the foundations and profitability of our business are not threatened by the change, added Arle.

Finnair made a binding order for three A340s and nine A350s last December. The airline also has four additional options for both aircraft types.

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