Finnair to Offer Europe’s First Link to Xi'an

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Richard Maslen

Richard Maslen,
Editor, Routesonline

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Finnair to Offer Europe’s First Link to Xi'an

As part of its business proposal to double its revenues from the Asian region by 2020, Finnair has announced further expansion across the region with the planned introduction of the first ever non-stop scheduled services between Europe and the Chinese city of Xi’an.  The carrier plans to offer a three times weekly link from its Helsinki hub on a seasonal basis from summer 2013 with flights scheduled to operate from June 14, 2013 until October 26, 2013. 

Located in central-northwest China, Xi’an is a metropolis of about 8 million people and a growing centre in the development of China’s aerospace and software industries.  The city is also an ancient imperial capital and an historic cradle of Chinese civilisation.  The world-famous Terracotta Army, the vast collection of burial sculptures found around the mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, is located about 40 km to the east of the city centre.

“I’m very excited and pleased to announce Xi’an as our fifth destination in China,” said Mika Vehviläinen, chief executive officer, Finnair.  “The fast-growing Chinese economy continues to fuel rapid growth in demand for air travel to and from Europe, and to open up new opportunities for Finnair.  We have a history of pioneering better connections between Europe and China going back to 1988, when we began flying to Beijing. We look forward to building on that history and offering the quickest and smoothest itineraries between dozens of European destinations and Xi’an.”

Earlier this year, Finnair became the first airline to directly connect Europe with Chongqing, another fast-growing inland megacity. Elsewhere in China, Finnair also flies to Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. A further eight destinations are served by the carrier across Asia - Bangkok, Delhi, Hanoi, Nagoya, Osaka, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo, while Hanoi will also join the network from June 15, 2013.

According to O&D data, approximately 32,000 passengers flew between Europe and Xi’an in 2011 and Finnair’s strong network across the Continent and popular Helsinki hub will certainly help it secure a significant share of this existing traffic as well as stimulating the market still further.  The largest traffic flows to/from Xi’an in 2011 were from Paris CDG, Moscow Sheremetyevo and London Heathrow and in the table below we highlight O&D demand to/from Xi’an by European country.

ESTIMATED O&D DEMAND BETWEEN XI’AN AND EUROPE (bi-directional O&D passengers; 2011)

Rank

Destination

Estimated O&D Demand

% Total 2011

1

Germany

7,033

21.8 %

2

France

5,084

15.8 %

3

Russian Federation

4,571

14.2 %

4

United Kingdom

4,503

14.0 %

5

Italy

4,491

13.9 %

6

Sweden

1,225

3.8 %

7

Belgium

897

2.8 %

8

Switzerland

839

2.6 %

9

Spain

778

2.4 %

10

Netherlands

701

2.2 %

TOTAL (Seat Capacity)

116,644

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