Finnair seeks to connect China to Cuba via Helsinki
Jun 8, 2017 Aaron Karp
Finnair believes it can compete with Air China in connecting Chinese
passengers to Cuba when it launches Helsinki-Havana flights in December,
CEO Pekka Vauramo said.
Finnair, which is the midst of a period of rapid expansion, plans to
launch 2X-weekly Helsinki-Havana flights with an Airbus A350-900 Dec. 1.
The service will be seasonal, operating until March 23, 2018.
Speaking to ATW on the sidelines of the IATA AGM in Cancun, Vauramo said
Finnair is eyeing a larger market than just passengers traveling to
Havana from Helsinki. "We see market connectivity from China to Cuba
through Helsinki," he said. "There is demand in China for service to Cuba."
Finnair currently operates flights from Helsinki to Beijing, Shanghai,
Chongqing, Guangzhou and Xi'an.
Beijing-based Air China operates a weekly Beijing-Montreal-Havana
routing with a Boeing 777-300ER, and has indicated it will eventually
switch to a 787-9 on the route. Vauramo said Chinese passengers may view
connecting to Havana via Helsinki on Finnair's A350s as a more desirable
way to travel between China and Cuba.
Finnair has nine A350s in its fleet currently and is scheduled to
receive two more this year, Vauramo said.
While the Cuba market has proved frustrating for US airlines,
"international traffic on non-US airlines has been very strong into Cuba
for the last few years," IATA regional VP-Americas Peter Cerda said
during a briefing at the AGM.
Aaron Karp firstname.lastname@example.org
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