Nordic flag carrier Finnair is to launch a new summer seasonal flight between Helsinki and Chicago in 2015 as it further expands its transatlantic route network. The new route will be launched on June 13, 2015 on a three times weekly basis and will operate through to October 17, 2015.
The new route, flown using an Airbus A330-300, will be operate within the carrier’s joint business on transatlantic traffic with fellow oneworld alliance partners British Airways, Iberia, American Airlines and American’s merger partner US Airways. Chicago is a hub for US major American Airlines and will allow travellers codeshare connections to destinations throughout the United States.
American Airlines already operates a seasonal service on the Chicago - Helsinki route. The daily flight was launched in summer 2011 and has helped grow annual demand on the city pair by around a third, despite the schedule being reduced to a much shorter season from 2013.
"Chicago is a great addition to our summer destinations, and is in demand with leisure travellers from Northern Europe,” said Petri Vuori, vice president global sales, Finnair. “Our timetable allows for easy connections to Chicago from throughout our extensive network in Europe and even Asia. Chicago, as a hub of our oneworld partner American Airlines, also offers excellent onward connections in America."
According to MIDT data, an estimated 18,000 bi-directional O&D passengers flew between Helsinki and Chicago in 2013. In the analysis, below, we look at O&D demand between the two cities over the past ten years. This shows that underlying demand on the city pair is strong and supported by a growing point-to-point demand. Finnair currently has a 6.8 per cent share of this demand via the flights of its partner airlines: American Airlines dominates with a 55.6 per cent share of the traffic.
The opening of the Chicago route will mean Finnair's seasonal summer service to Hanoi will be discontinued, but the carrier will maintain flights into Vietnam with a new weekly link to Ho Chi Minh City which will be introduced from December 10, 2015 and operate through to March 24, 2016. The three times weekly route to Hanoi was launched in June 2013 but has failed to meet the expectations of the carrier during its two summer seasons of operation.
Finnair has previously announced plans to also expand its short- and medium-haul activities in the forthcoming summer 2015 schedule with new links to Athens, Dublin, Malta and Split and it has now confirmed plans to add further routes in winter 2015/2016.
The growth sees several destinations that have previously been served with flights chartered by tour operators, operated on a scheduled basis to meet increasing demand from travellers wishing to build their own holiday packages.
These new flights comprise a weekly link to Eilat in IsraelETH between and weekly links to Fuerteventura and Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. These will all operate from late October 2015 to the end of March 2016. FInnair will also extend its weekly summer route to Madeira, which commences on April 27, 2015, to a year-round operation.