Before long-haul A350 operations begin, Finnair will conduct crew familiarisation flights throughout Europe during October. These regularly scheduled commercial services will be operated as usual within the Finnair network, just with an A350 rather than the usual narrowbody aircraft. On 11 October, Hamburg will welcome Finnair’s A350. After two days in the Hanseatic city, the plane will head off to Berlin, and touch down in Düsseldorf before taking off to Munich. On 25 October, Finnair will resume regular service with the A350.
First Cabin Award
Finnair has already been honoured with the prestigious International Yacht & Aviation Award for the design of its new Airbus A350 XWB cabin interiors in economy and business class. The A350 cabin’s ‘Space Alive’ concept allows to change the colours, mood, and atmosphere on board, thereby easing customers on long-haul journeys into new time zones, destinations and seasons. The aircraft’s ambient LED lighting system can gradually recreate 24 different skyscapes as the flight progresses, such as the rising or setting sun, various cloud formations, and even the aurora borealis (northern lights).
Finnair is the European launch customer, and only the third worldwide, of the completely new aircraft type, which substantially raises the bar for passenger comfort, environmental performance and operational efficiency.
Finnair is also the first airline in the world to operate the A350 on scheduled services to China, where Shanghai will be served with daily A350 service from 25 October 2015. Beijing follows with daily A350 service on 21 November 2015. Daily services to Hong Kong from 1 February 2016 and to Singapore from 5 May 2016 will also be operated with a combination of A350 and A330 aircraft.
Three Assembly Plants in the Hamburg Metro Region
Major parts of the new aircraft type have been manufactured in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. The Airbus plant in Hamburg-Finkenwerder builds and provides fully equipped fuselage section to the end line in Toulouse, where they are just being put together – a process called “plug and fly” by Airbus. Finkenwerder is also responsible for the cabin development and design as well as various tests. In Buxtehude, the cabin electronics are manufactured. The Airbus site at Stade supplies the rudder, the upper and lower shells of the rear fuselage section,and the upper wing shell. “With the carbon fiber hull of the A350 XWB, we develop and build here in Hamburg a key technology of the aircraft of the 21st century”, Gerald Weber, the former CEO Airbus Operations Germany had said on occasion of the topping-out ceremony of the Airbus A350 assembly hall in 2010. A good five years later, and Weber gone, Finnair will take off into a new age of aviation with the Airbus A350 XWB.
Component Support by Hamburg’s Lufthansa Technik
Furthermore, Finnair has awarded Lufthansa Technik a 12-year agreement for component support for the new aircraft type. Lufthansa Technik is one of the leading providers of technical services for the aviation industry, and the agreement with Finnair is the company’s first contract for A350 XWB component support.
“The new A350 XWB aircraft form the backbone of our growth strategy, and component support agreement is one part of our thorough preparations for the aircraft’s arrival,” says Jari Huhtinen, Vice President, Finnair Technical Operations. “We are pleased to sign this contract with Lufthansa Technik. World class technical competencies, high reliability of repair service and overall cost competitiveness were key factors in our decision,” Huhtinen says.
The exclusive Total Component Support TCS® contract covers the availability and repair services of A350 XWB components. Finnair already has an agreement with Lufthansa Technik on engine related components service for V2500 engines and APU services for APS3200. Finnair’s own maintenance organisation at the Helsinki Airport is responsible for the line maintenance of Finnair’s current fleet and the new A350 XWB fleet.
Finnair has firm orders for 19 A350 XWB aircraft, the first four of which are expected to arrive in the fleet in the second half of this year, with another seven in 2016 and 2017. The complete order will be fulfilled by 2023.