New long distance route to Asia at Helsinki Airport
Direct flight connections between Finland and China will increase as the first Chinese airline company Tibet Airlines commences flights from Jinan, China, to Finland on 8 April.
Helsinki Airport’s excellent location between Northern Europe and Asia draws in Chinese tourists.
Tibet Airlines’ new route gives Finnish travellers access to yet another Chinese city, Jinan, and also brings both Finland and the rest of Europe closer to China. In terms of the number of flight connections, Helsinki Airport is clearly the leading airport in all of Northern Europe. Next summer, 44 weekly flights for China alone will depart from Helsinki Airport. In 2018, 835,000 passengers travelled between Finland and China, and therefore the role of the new route is highly important for both Finland and Finavia.
“The new Tibet Airlines’ route between Jinan and Finland reinforces Helsinki Airport’s position as a significant hub for travel to Asia. It directly connects the Shandong province and Finland, and we warmly welcome Tibet Airlines here at Helsinki Airport,” says Finavia Director Joni Sundelin, who is responsible for flight route planning at Helsinki Airport.
It is currently planned that flights on the new route will commence on April 8th, and they will be operated with Airbus A330 wide-bodied aircraft twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays. Flights to Jinan will be available both in business and economy class. With approximately seven million residents, Jinan is the capital of the Shandong province, located along the Yellow River in China. Tibet Airlines is the first Chinese airline company to commence flights to Finland.
Flight connections to China are increasing, numbers of transfer passengers continue to rise
To establish the Jinan route, Finavia has collaborated with the City of Vantaa trade and business services and Visit Finland.
“The new flight connection is the result of successful cooperation between the cities of Jinan and Vantaa. New business opportunities will open up for Finnish businesses both in Jinan and throughout the entire Shandong province, which has 100 million residents. At the same time, the role of Aviapolis as our nation’s fastest-growing trade and business area is strengthened,” says City of Vantaa Head of Trade and Business José Valanta.
“In terms of Visit Finland, the commencement of direct Tibet Airlines flights from Jinan to Helsinki is a significant addition to travel directed from China to Finland. There have previously been no direct connections from Jinan or the rest of Shandong to Finland. The new route also opens up new opportunities for Finnish travellers in Shandong,” says Paavo Virkkunen from Visit Finland.
Flight connections to China are the highlight of summer 2019 at Helsinki Airport: Jinan, Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Hong Kong.
In December 2018, Finavia’s Helsinki Airport hit its all-time record in terms of passenger numbers: 20 million passengers. Passenger numbers at Helsinki Airport have increased dramatically. In 2017, it was estimated that the threshold of 20 million annual passengers would not be broken until 2020. In 2018, the number of passengers was nearly 21 million.
Boosted by this growth, Helsinki Airport is currently implementing a development programme of approximately EUR 1 billion, helping Finavia and Helsinki Airport prepare to serve as many as 30 million passengers annually.
“The growth in passenger numbers is the result of increased transfer travel. In 2018, transfer travel went up by 21 per cent. At the same time, Finland’s appeal as a destination continues to grow. In Lapland, the current winter season is the busiest ever. Chinese tourists are extremely important to us, and we have invested in both services for Chinese travellers and the customer experience at Helsinki Airport to ensure that their first impressions of Finland are as positive as possible,” Joni Sundelin continues.