Finnair planning to expand fleet

Finnish air carrier Finnair said it has signed a four-year agreement with aircraft lessor ILFC for acquiring two Airbus planes for long-haul flights to New Delhi and other destinations in Asia, as well as New York.

Last Updated: Aug 01, 2010, 21:18 PM IST

Helsinki/New Delhi: Finnish air carrier
Finnair on Sunday said it has signed a four-year agreement with
aircraft lessor ILFC for acquiring two Airbus planes for
long-haul flights to New Delhi and other destinations in Asia,
as well as New York.

"We have recently announced an increase in Asian traffic
and we need additional capacity. This decision will enable us
to satisfy growth needs...," Finnair President and CEO Mika
Vehvilainen said.

The 270-seat Airbus A340 wide-bodied aircraft will be
inducted into Finnair`s fleet in late 2010 and early 2011. At
present, Finnair`s fleet comprises 61 aircraft, out of which
34 are owned, while 27 have been leased. Ten of the aircraft
are on lease from the International Lease Finance Corporation
(ILFC).

Asia is an important destination for Finnair, accounting
for about half of its revenue. At present, Finnair operates a
daily flight between New Delhi and Helsinki, but has indicated
that it is interested in servicing more destinations in India.

Under the present bilateral air services agreement
between India and Finland, Finnair has permission to operate
daily flights to three Indian cities.

In an email interview with a news agency, Vehvilainen had earlier
said, "Finnair is reviewing the Europe-Mumbai market situation
in terms of demand and capacity development. When we estimate
that relaunching the operations to Mumbai will give positive
contribution, we will make that decision.

"At the same time, we are actively looking at other
markets in India -- such as Bangalore and Chennai -- for a
possible route launch in future. We are also looking at
cooperation possibilities with Kingfisher Airlines, which will
join the OneWorld alliance shortly."

PTI