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Finnair to acquire sixth MD-11 for growing Asian traffic

Travel News Asia 23 December 2003

Finnair has decided to acquire a sixth MD-11 for its long-haul fleet. The agreement on the lease of the MD-11 wide-body aircraft has been signed with Boeing Capital Corporation. The aircraft is to join the Finnair fleet towards the end of spring 2004.

As of June 2004, the additional capacity brought by the aircraft will be used to increase frequencies to Finnair's current Asian destinations. The strong Asian emphasis of Finnair's long-haul strategy has proved to be the correct choice as Asia is the fastest growing air transport market area.

"A fifth MD-11 was added to the Finnair fleet in the beginning of 2003 and so the newcomer will add to the number of long-haul aircraft. Next summer we will have 50 per cent more capacity in our long-haul traffic compared to early 2003," says Finnair COO and EVP Scheduled Passenger Traffic Henrik Arle.

Finnair currently operates over twenty weekly frequencies to Asian destinations. From the start of the summer schedule in March, the number of weekly flights to Beijing will increase from five to six. As of June 1st, Beijing flights will become daily. Finnair's other destinations in Asia are Bangkok, with daily frequencies, Hong Kong, Osaka, Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore.

Demand on Finnair's Asian routes has grown by almost 40 per cent during this past autumn compared with autumn 2002. The majority of passengers on the Asian routes are from Asia. A quarter of Finnair passenger and cargo revenues come from Asia meaning that it is the second largest source of income after European traffic and more significant than domestic traffic.

The growing Asian traffic is also increasing passenger numbers on European routes. Demand in Finnair's scheduled traffic grew over 20 per cent in November.

The MD-11 aircraft has over 280 passenger seats of which 42 are in Business Class.

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