Nordic national carrier Finnair has outlined plans to further extend its Asian network with the introduction of a new seasonal service between Helsinki and Hanoi in Vietnam, subject to regulatory approvals. The airline will offer a three times weekly link between the two cities between June 15, 2013 and October 27, 2013 using an Airbus A330-300.
“We are delighted to be able add Hanoi as our 12th destination in Asia,” said Mika Vehviläinen, Chief Executive Officer, Finnair. “This is yet another important step for Finnair toward our long-term goal of doubling our Asian revenue by 2020.” The airline has partnered with local Vietnamese company East Sea Travel & Air Service Group to support its activities.
Finnair has built its Asian strategy during the past two decades, taking advantage of the geographical position of its Helsinki hub on the shortest routes between the major cities of Asia and the more than 60 European destinations it serves. The airline already successfully operates to Bangkok, Beijing, Chongqing, Delhi, Hong Kong, Nagoya, Osaka, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo and like these destinations the flight schedule to Hanoi will be optimised for transfer traffic.
As a centre of higher education and R&D in the region, Hanoi is forecasted to be home to one of the world’s fastest growing economies between the years 2008-2025, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers. The city is also noted for its historic Old Quarter, French colonial architecture, and pilgrimage site Chua Huong, a network of Buddhist temples and shrines carved out of the limestone hills and tropical forests around Huong Mountain. Hanoi is also located near to the famous Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its thousands of limestone isles.
Hanoi has a population of 6.5 million passengers but O&D air passenger demand to Helsinki without the stimulus of direct air services was estimated at just 2,500 travellers in 2011, showing the importance of Finnair’s wider European network in supporting this new service. When you consider the wider European market an estimated 599,000 O&D passengers flew to Hanoi with a total of 1.24 million flying between Europe and Vietnam.
The Europe – Vietnam market is currently dominated by Vietnam Airlines. The Asian carrier offers non-stop flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Frankfurt, London, Moscow and Paris and has a 37.7 per cent share of the estimated O&D demand in the Europe - Vietnam market. Air France also offers flights between Paris and Ho Chi Minh City (with a 12.2 per cent share of O&D demand in 2011) and Aeroflot Russian Airlines serves both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (7.7 per cent share).