Finnair to fly to Sydney? "Never say never" mulls Finnair CEO

By David Flynn, October 15 2015
Finnair to fly to Sydney?

Finnair's eastwards expansion into Asia might eventually see the airline add Sydney to its network, although the airline's CEO is quick to stress that there are no plans in the pipeline for Australian flights.

But it's a case of "never say never" cautions Pekka Vauramo, who suggests that Australia is perhaps the airline's largest market to which the airline doesn't fly

"I would say that Australia is probably the fifth, sixth or seventh best-selling country for us, and that's really surprising considering we don't fly to Australia!".

Vauramo suggests that Australia could even be the largest market to which Finnair doesn't fly, instead favouring connections via Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as Bangkok and Tokyo.

"Right now we don't have plans (to fly to Australia), we rely on our Oneworld partners like Qantas, which is a very good partner for us."

Vauramo is no stranger to Australia, having spent almost 20 years with Swedish mining and construction company Sandvik which saw him regularly travel to visit clients in the resources industry.

"I've been to Australia about 50 times altogether" Vauramo says. "My old colleagues still travel a lot to Helsinki, I often meet them on board our flights."

All eyes on Asia

Asia is the primary focus for Finnair and its new fleet of Airbus A350s, which will begin flying between Helsinki and Shanghai in late November 2015 followed by Beijing, Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong through to mid-2016.

"We intend to double our Asian traffic by 2020 from the 2010 baseline," Vauramo says. "We have a long tradition of connecting Asia and Europe with smooth fast connections via our Helsinki hub."

The Airbus A350 is crucial to that growth, with the Finnish flag-carrier expecting to take delivery of four of the advanced fuel-efficient jets this year 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.

The A350s sport a slick Nordic-inspired interior with spacious business class seats which convert into fully lie-flat beds and free inflight Internet for business class travellers and top-tier frequent flyers.

"Free Internet is the way the market is going," Vauramo explains, "but being being a Nordic airline we are probably not that well known all over the world."

"So we want to attract as many passengers (as possible) and give people more reasons to fly with us. I think we have a perfect choice for the business traveller."

AusBT review: Finnair Airbus A350 business class

David Flynn travelled to Helsinki as a guest of Finnair.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Nov 2011

Total posts 243

Hoping more competition into Australia.

That should keep prices somewhat low for travelling to Europe.

19 Jun 2014

Total posts 32

As a Melbournian, I think airlines would only fly to the popular tourist and business destinations. Why would overseas visitors want to visit any other Australian cities besides Sydney and Cairns?

Please come to Sydney. I like my Melbourne quaint, chic and cosy.

On a similar but slightly off tangent note; was recently in the Sydney QF First lounge for the first time. Have to say the Melbourne First lounge wins hands down. It's so much more warm and cosy. Its like a little First Class nook compared to the stretched out version in Sydney.



Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 362

Can we not have the same old "Why Sydney and not Perth/Melbourne/Brisbane" debate? It is really getting old

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 113

The quotes from their CEO don't appear to reference Sydney...he refers to Australia...message to the editor Sydney <> Australia! 

A headline saying Finnair does not rule out flying to Dubbo based on the quotes from their CEO would be equally valid... 

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 441

While they maintain such a good relationship with QF there's no real need for them to fly to Australia.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 357

"Never say never" means nothing. Just being political and I won't hold any breath. 

JAL promised to return to BNE as soon as their company has turned around and after delivery of 787. Even 2 years ago they expressed interest but never happened so Qantas took the opportunity. Therefore unless it's officially announced, I'll just treat it with a grain of salt. 

BTW, I wonder if AUS-Europe would be saturated? Already we have the ME3, all major Asian airlines, BA, QF, and TK will start soon. I think what we need more is transpacific to the US!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Sep 2012

Total posts 236

In line with what others have said here, Finnair would be buckling against the trend by starting services on its own aircraft to Sydney. 

Just like we saw with Virgin Atlantic, and Lufthansa, Olympic, Alitalia, KLM etc before, as soon as the alliances/code shares gained strength back in the early 2000s, European airlines pulled out of Australia and relied on their regional alliance partners (like QF, SQ) to feed Aussie passengers into their Asian hubs and vv. The cost of operating the extra Asia -AUS flight wasn't worth it. 

BA are the only European airline still flying to Oz and that's largely because they saw an opportunity to service their oneworld customers from AUS-Europe vv through Singapore taking advantage of the brand equity it developed over the years it worked with QF and at the same time retaining many of the customers QF lost after their change of hub to DXB. 

Given Finnair's high operating costs (as opposed to Turkish Airlines), I doubt AUS would make sense for them $$$ wise given they already get great passenger feed from Qantas.

But who knows....?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Oct 2015

Total posts 16

I doubt this will happen for some time but its nice to see more European Airlines looking at Australia, id love to see BA expand to Melbourne and Lufthansa come back to Sydney, maybe when we get the aircraft capable of flying EU - AUS non-stop we'll see airlines like KLM, Lufthansa and Air France coming back offering a non-stop connection. 

19 Jun 2014

Total posts 32

I am not sure about the service of these European airlines. Even Qantas is better than some of these European carriers. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2015

Total posts 3

Yay! Then I can fly Finnair nearly all the way to Europe from Brisbane. 


14 Aug 2013

Total posts 28

ignoring demand, it seems physically feasible given SQ have recently "pre-announced" re-entering ultra longhaul SIN-EWR with a suitably modified A350.
SIN-EWR  9534 miles

HEL-MEL 9428 miles

HEL-SYD 9438 miles

and of course compared to that it'd be a mere doddle to do HEL-PER at 8131 miles, after all that's less than DFW-SYD already (8578) ...

Oddly enough, Finnair's hub HEL actually is closer to SYD than any other EU hub, even closer than ATH.  The HEL-HKG-SYD routing is very close to the shortest Great Circle path to Europe.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 14

We were chatting to the lady on the Finnair stand at a travel show in Perth recently, discussing the possibility of a direct Helsinki - Perth flight, then codesharing on QF to the other Aussie ports. Apparently, it's not the first time it's been suggested and is one of the options they are considering!

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