Finnair's first Airbus A350 to fly October 7

By David Flynn, September 21 2015
Finnair's first Airbus A350 to fly October 7

  • Finnair Airbus A350 'familiarisation flights' in Europe from October
  • First long-range Finnair A350 international route to Shanghai in November 21
  • Next Finnair A350s to New York, Beijing, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore

Finnair will take delivery of its first Airbus A350 on October 7, with flights on selected European routes – beginning with Amsterdam and Oslo from October 9 – before switching the advanced jet onto its Shanghai schedule from November 21, one month later than previously planned.

New York will follow later in the year, making Finnair the first airline in the world to fly the A350 to the USA.

Beijing, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore are also on Finnair's A350 route map, although launch dates have been pushed back from Finnair's previously-published roster "due to changes in the expected delivery schedules of the company’s first A350 aircraft, the needs of the crew familiarisation program, and other operational factors" the airline said in a statement released today.

"The company wants to offer the best possible customer experience for its customers, and has therefore adopted a slightly more conservative launch schedule than previously indicated."

London, Frankfurt, Hamburg,  Stockholm, Copenhagen, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Vienna should all see the A350 slotting into onto Finnair's regular schedules from mid-October to late November as 'crew familiarisation flights'.

The full list of planned A350 familiarisation flights to some 15 European cities is available at, although the airline notes that "all such flights are subject to changes."

The roadshow is intended to let Finnair trumpet its status as the first European airline to take delivery of the Airbus A350, after Qatar Airways and Vietnam Airlines.

Photo tour: Qatar Airbus A350 business class

Finnair's A350 delivery schedule sees four aircraft arriving in the second half of 2015 and seven more between 2016 and 2017, by which time the airline will have retired its current fuel-thirsty A340 jets. A further eight A350s will follow from 2018 through 2023.

Finnair's A350 fleet will sport 46 business class seats using the popular Zodiac Cirrus design best known as the business class seat of Cathay Pacific, as well as American Airlines and Air France.

This will give each traveller direct aisle access and a fully flat bed, along with a large meal table and plenty of space for keeping their inflight stuff close at hand.

The third-gen Cirrus III seat also has a 16 inch touchscreen display plus AC and USB power sockets.

Read: Inside Finnair's new Airbus A350 business class

Finnair's A350s will also be fitted with inflight Internet in the first step towards a fleet-wide upgrade which will see all of the Finnish airline's jets set for sky-high surfing by 2018.

Read: Finnair to launch inflight Internet on Airbus A350

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 182

Well my need to travel to shanghai might take a via stop in Helsinki to fly the AY a350 hope it is a nice cabin i'm going to book busniess and hope those passangers are in the fully flat seats not economy comfort.


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1463

Now they gonna to have 3 different business seats - can it get even more confusing?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 May 2013

Total posts 25

Gotta keep the consumer guessing.

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 182

Think theses are going in the a330 aswell for some simmilarite and not having to guess flights


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1463

I do not think that Finnair will refurbish very fresh (and very good indeed!) A330. If they would be that keen to keep their business identical across all fleet, then they will change A340 ages ago. IMHO they plan rid off A340 in favor of A350. And perhaps they keep existing layout on A330 because it a bit narrower thet A350 and new layout does not fit.

05 Sep 2014

Total posts 14

Air Canada has 3 types, AA, vietnam airlines, JAL, thai airways, Delta etc. do as well. It's becoming more and more common.


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1463

Even if it is common it does not mean that it is good. Love BA - whatever route, whatever aircraft seats remain the same. In case of different configuration one not only need to study what is going on, but risk replacement with inferior product at last minute without even notification, forget apology! Plainly disgusting.

19 Sep 2012

Total posts 12

BA's might be consistent, but I wouldn't say that's a good thing with their business product...


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1463

IMHO depends - if you choose window seat that you can get in without disturbing your neighbor than it looks like own mini-suite. And one on second deck of 747 is just marvel - you have huge extra table and ample of personal storage. Also inner pair is gem if you flying with someone.


11 Sep 2012

Total posts 21

I think the older A340 aircraft will be the first to be retired as the A350 starts flying. I think there are 3 left so once they're gone it'll be just two types of Business class. The current A330/updateA340 style and these new Zodiac seats. 

I was booked on J class to LHR via SIN with Finnair with an updated A340 however they moved it to an older style aircraft so I managed to swap via HKG at minimal cost to avoid those old seats. Looking forward to trying Finnair!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Mar 2014

Total posts 24

So cool!!! I want to fly on this baby!!!! Saw the build in France - WOW aircraft!

02 Jul 2015

Total posts 2

Does anyone know who made the main cabin seats and first class seats? 

21 Jul 2012

Total posts 128

Zodiac made the business class seats.  There is no first class.  No idea about economy.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Dec 2014

Total posts 284

Would be nice to get a 'familiarisation flight' to test out the new J class

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 268

I wish they had added a dash of color to their seats though. 

Reverse herringbone seats are the best though, it just feels so snug and nice :)

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

18 Jul 2011

Total posts 7

Well, thanks to this article, I've just discovered Finnair have made a schedule change. The A350 was supposed to enter service on 5/10 and I booked myself on their 6/10 LHR-HEL service which has now been cancelled. I have to say, Im absolutley gutted. I've wasted 7000 Avios and £70 on this sector as well as paying for an 'Economy Comfort' seat and now i'm left with an A320...I just hope they step up to the mark and amend it for free to the 16/10 LHR-HEL A350 service.

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