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.
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