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Finnair celebrates 60th anniversary of flights between London Heathrow and Helsinki

Today marks an exciting anniversary for Finnair, the world’s sixth-oldest airline still in operation. Exactly 60 years ago today, on 1st September 1954, Finnair began operating flights between London Heathrow and Helsinki.
60 years ago Finnair flew to Helsinki via Düsseldorff and Copenhagen, taking the whole day. Nowadays flies from London Heathrow to Helsinki five times daily with a flight time of three hours.

Since its inception the route has continued to increase in popularity mainly due to Helsinki’s geographical location and Finnair’s wider network, particularly to Asia. For example, London Heathrow-Beijing is just 13 hours 35 minutes via the Finnish capital.

Fredrik Charpentier, Finnair Sales Director for Europe West and North America commented; “Today we mark an important milestone in Finnair’s 90 years of history, our 60th anniversary of flying from London Heathrow to Helsinki. Since Finnair began flying this route in 1954 we have increased frequency of flights from just a few flights per week to five flights daily. We continue to see that the Heathrow to Helsinki route is increasingly important for travellers especially those wishing to connect onto routes further afield, particularly to destinations in Asia, with connection times in Helsinki as short as 35 minutes. ”

In 2013, Finnair carried 9.3million passengers, 5.7% more than the year before. Passengers were choosing Finnair because of its expanding route network, with 13 destinations in Asia and over 60 destinations in Europe. Asian destinations include Hong Kong, Beijing, Xian, Chongqing, Shanghai, Seoul, Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Singapore, Bangkok and Hanoi, making it easier for travellers to transit quickly via Helsinki. Finnair also flies to New York and will open a new route to Miami in December 2014.

Helsinki Airport is easy for passengers to transit between flights since Finnair only use one terminal, Terminal 2, for all flights. Finnair also has three beautifully-designed lounges and launched its new Premium Lounge, complete with Finnish sauna, in August.

In the air, Finnair’s long haul Business Class offering includes a 200cm long horizontal fully-flat flat bed. Business Class passengers can enjoy signature menus created by two of Finland’s famous chefs, Pekka Terävä and Tomi Björk and individual in-flight entertainment.

Economy passengers flying long-haul benefit from comfortable and spacious seats and the airline has award-winning and multi-lingual crew.

Finnair has announced a suite of product upgrades and is developing a mobile application as part of a larger drive to comprehensively renew the customer experience both on the ground and in the air. On long-haul flights, product upgrades coming in the fall include the Economy Comfort package, a new offering in the front of the Economy Class cabin featuring at least four inches of extra legroom, comfy headrests, high-quality headphones and personal amenity kits. The Economy Class meal service is also being updated with an additional complimentary mid-flight snack on day-time flights, a new wine selection and complimentary sparkling wine.

Business Class will also soon include a new amenity kit with high-quality brand products. Throughout both Business and Economy, the inflight entertainment system is being redesigned with a fresher, more intuitive look and feel and a greater selection of movies, TV shows, newspapers, magazines and books. On short-haul flights in Economy Class, Finnair will introduce Sky Bistro, a wider mix-and-match selection of seasonal, high-quality foods and beverages combining the best tastes of Europe and Asia. Meals can be tailored in advance at or bought on board during the flight.

Finnair has teamed up with top Helsinki firm dSign Vertti Kivi & Co, to design the cabins for the next-generation Airbus A350 XWB. As the European launch customer, the new extra wide aircraft will become the airlines flagship long haul product and will enter service in the second half of next year, initially serving Shanghai, Bangkok and Beijing, with Hong Kong and Singapore A350 service to be added in 2016.

Finnair has also teamed up with Finnish design house Marimekko for a collection of tableware and textiles which feature Marimekko´s  classic patterns and designs. It is specially designed to add a light and fresh visual dimension to the onboard experience, while also reducing aircraft weight.

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