Route Analysis: Helsinki-Seattle

Seattle will become the sixth point in the US served by Finnair from Helsinki—one more than before the pandemic.

Credit: Joe Pries

As ongoing travel restrictions continue to hinder Finnair’s connecting strategy between Europe and Asia, the airline has pivoted to the North American market for growth.

After launching its first trans-atlantic flights from Stockholm Arlanda in Sweden in October 2021, the carrier is also expanding US service from its Helsinki (HEL) hub. Flights from the Finnish capital to Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) will begin in late March, followed by operations to Seattle (SEA) in June.

The 7,672 km (4,767 mi.) seasonal route to the Pacific Northwest city will launch on June 1, operating three times per week using A330-300s. Seattle will become the sixth point in the US served by Finnair from Helsinki—one more than before the pandemic.

Although flights to San Francisco (SFO) are yet to return, Dallas and Seattle join a network that also includes Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX) and New York John F. Kennedy (JFK). By peak summer, Finnair therefore expects to be providing more than 14,300 two-way weekly seats between Helsinki and the US—up by 19% compared with summer 2019.

While Sabre data shows that O&D traffic between Helsinki and Seattle totaled just 9,100 two-way passengers in 2019, Finnair’s new codeshare partnership with Seattle-based oneworld partner Alaska Airlines opens up a range of one-stop options to the US west coast.

From June 1, passengers traveling with the Finnish carrier will be able to connect to 60 destinations on Alaska’s domestic network. In addition, the nonstop route will also cater for the cruise industry in Seattle, with passenger levels expected to recover to about 75% of pre-pandemic levels this year.

Finnair has served Seattle in the past, first launching flights to the city in 1981.