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Operated by Finavia, Helsinki Airport is located in Vantaa and is the major international gateway to Helsinki and the largest airport in Finland. Hosting regional and international passenger and cargo services for over 20 airlines, Helsinki Airport is a hub for airlines including SAS, Flybe Nordic, Norwegian Air Shuttle, TUIfly Nordic and Finnair. About 90% of Finland’s international air traffic passes through Helsinki Airport and is a popular transfer point for services to and from Europe.
Location of Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, Finland
Ground Handlers and Cargo Handlers servicing Helsinki-Vantaa Airport
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Fuel & Oil Suppliers servicing Helsinki-Vantaa Airport
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Finnair’s A350 delivery brings more growth to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Now to attract other airlines
Finnair on 07-Oct-2015 took delivery of its first A350 XWB, becoming the third operator overall – after Qatar Airways and Vietnam Airlines – and the first in Europe. The aircraft brings needed benefits to the airline: lower operating costs and an improved passenger product. The A350s also mark the start of more growth for Finnair’s home base, Helsinki Airport, which is expanding its terminal to support Finnair.
After replacing A340s, the A350s will permit growth, with Helsinki Airport telling CAPA it expects each aircraft to open one or two new destinations a year. Finnair’s strategy is to link Europe with Asia, focusing on Northeast Asia. Helsinki Airport has many of the main Asian markets covered, leaving open the opportunity for increased frequency – slots permitting – or exploring secondary cities. Finnair has announced Fukuoka and Guangzhou for new destinations in 2016.
Helsinki would like more North American routes, which Norwegian could consider. The LCC is testing longer flights from Helsinki with a Dubai service. Gulf carriers are absent from Helsinki – as are other long-haul operators excluding Japan Airlines. Helsinki Airport's challenge now will be to benefit from Finnair and attract new airlines.
CAPA is pleased to announce our flagship World Aviation Summit, to be hosted by Finavia in Helsinki on 7/8 October 2015. Host airline, Finnair, will be conducting a VIP flight for Summit delegates and guests on 6 October with a brand new Airbus A350 which will be inducted into the fleet just days prior to the event.
The World Aviation Summit will also feature a gala dinner on 7 October for the 2015 CAPA Awards for Excellence, for which nominations will be accepted through 9 July 2015.
This year's Summit will address the essential issues facing the global commercial aviation industry: Open skies, Subsidies, Ownership, Alliances, Distribution, Productivity – and delivering for the consumer.
China started 2015 with five of its airlines flying long haul. By the end of the year, the number will be seven – the same number of airlines across all of North America that fly long haul. Following Xiamen Airlines' 787 services to Amsterdam and Sydney, HNA's Beijing Capital Airlines plans to open services to Europe in Sep-2015. Limited Copenhagen service is planned to be served from Hangzhou and Beijing while Helsinki will be served from Beijing only. Capital Airlines' 54 Airbus narrowbody aircraft will reportedly be joined by three A330s by the end of the year. More international flying – and domestic services – can be expected to make efficient use of the new widebody fleet.
Capital Airlines has a mixture of scheduled and charter services. Under HNA's complex ownership structure, Capital Airlines is part of HNA Tourism, which could generate group benefits from Capital Airlines' expected quasi-charter flights. Most other HNA-affiliated carriers – from Hainan Airlines to West Air to Aigle Azur – are under HNA Aviation. While flagship group carrier Hainan Airlines focuses on North American flying with 787s, Capital Airlines could be used to explore other markets and ultimately be a test case for long-haul service from other mainland HNA carriers, of which there are many.
Finnair narrowed its operational loss in the seasonally weak 1Q2015. After capacity cuts and restructuring in 2014, it has returned to modest capacity growth. Revenue was stable as growth in passenger and ancillary revenue was offset by falling cargo and travel services sales. The narrower loss was thanks to decreased costs, with lower fuel prices playing a significant part. Ex fuel unit costs were up slightly, even after stripping out currency movements.
New labour agreements reached last year and the delivery in 2H2015 of Finnair's first four A350 aircraft should provide cost benefits in the future. In addition, Finnair has announced a new strategic focus placing the "customer experience" and "world-class operations" at its heart, presumably hoping this will bolster unit revenue. Finnair has also broadly reiterated its medium to long term financial goals, but remains a long way from achieving them.
One of Finnair's strategic focus areas is Northeast Asia, where it retains an ambitious growth target, but this does not square with last year's capacity cut and this year's slow growth in Asia. The A350 is expected to reinvigorate its Asia strategy.
Finnair is raising the competitive stakes in using its Helsinki hub to offer the quickest connections between Europe and Asia and in 2015 will have about 10 flights a day to North and Southeast Asia. Before Finnair arrived in Asia in 1976, there was SAS, which commenced Asian flights in 1949 and held the title for all sorts of records and unique operations. But Finnair started to catch up, and it – not SAS – was the first to fly non-stop from Europe to China. A decade ago, Finnair had only a slight edge over SAS in Asia but now Finnair has three times the number of flights and four times as many seats as SAS in Asia.
Strong and active unions and an unwieldy ownership structure, together with an inefficient fleet, have hobbled SAS, but it is hoping to make some inroads in Asia, although opportunities will be limited. A new Stockholm-Hong Kong service opens in Sep-2015 while a nascent partnership with Etihad lays the groundwork for closer cooperation in the future and when Etihad commences services to Scandinavia. Emirates and Qatar already serve the region. SAS' Asian network is largely out of Copenhagen, and the airline probably would hope the Stockholm departure for Hong Kong will limit Finnair's poaching of Swedish traffic.
Finnair's net loss for 2014 was its first since 2011, but its fifth in the seven years since 2008. Over the past decade or so, losses have been more common than profits. Its niche in connecting Europe with Asia via Helsinki has placed Finnair among Europe's top twenty airline groups, although Finland ranks outside the top twenty countries by population.
But converting this niche into sustainable profitability is proving a major challenge. Whenever Finnair makes progress with cost reduction (and it has made major strides with labour productivity), it seems that revenue pressures wipe out those benefits. In 2015, Finnair anticipates a further drop in unit revenue, reflecting the highly competitive nature of its markets.
This year will also present opportunities for Finnair to build a more solid base. It will be the first full year under new labour agreements and with a number of product improvements in place. It will also see its first A350 delivery. Lower fuel prices are a stroke of luck, but Finnair needs to ensure it can be profitable without relying on this good fortune.