Finnair To Increase Ties With China’s Juneyao

Finnair has expanded its partnership with Juneyao from a small codeshare to a complete joint venture. The deal is still awaiting approval from the respective authorities, and will likely only come into effect well after the end of this aviation crisis.

Finnair has expanded its natural partnership. Photo: Getty Images

Why is this a natural partnership?

Finnair has made quite a splash in the Europe to Asia marketplace, capitalizing on its far north and east hub in Helsinki to operate relatively short flights from one region to the other.

For example, a flight from Paris to Shanghai can take around 11 hours and 30 minutes, but a flight from Helsinki to Shanghai only takes 8 hours and 55 minutes, a significant time difference. If a passenger wants to fly to a smaller destination within East and Central Europe (E.g. Krakow, Poland), the flight via Helsinki may offer a more comfortable and/or quicker trip.

Shanghai to Helsinki Finnair
Shanghai to Helsinki in red, Shanghai to Paris in navy. Photo: GC Maps

Thus it would be quite a natural partnership for a Chinese airline to team up with Finnair and vise versa. In steps Juneyao Airlines.

Back in May 2019, Finnair partnered up with Juneyao for a codeshare between their respective hubs of Helsinki and Shanghai. Now they are looking at expanding this partnership further.

What is the new joint venture?

Finnair has decided to expand its partnership beyond a simple codeshare to include many other destinations through each respective network. This will mean more savings and better schedules for passengers, as well as a vast list of destinations.

This new deal is fantastic, although does come at a challenging time for both airlines as they grapple with the global aviation crisis.

“Despite these immensely challenging times for our industry, we at Finnair remain steadfast in our belief and commitment to China as a key market,” said Finnair’s Chief Commercial Officer Ole Orver in a press release.

“Over the last year, we have built up a close and mutually beneficial partnership with Juneyao Air. Taking the important step to evolve this into deeper cooperation focused on our Shanghai and Helsinki hubs will allow us to not only serve our current customers even better but also to lay a platform for further growth in the future, once the aviation market starts to normalize”.

Passengers earning frequent flier points on each airline have already been able to accrue and redeem their loyalty points throughout both networks since August last year. No date has been given for the commencement of the joint venture, but the deal will of course require regulatory approval.

Finnair A350 business class cabin
The business class currently offered on Finnair’s A350s. Photo: Finnair

Who is Juneyao Airlines?

Juneyao Airlines is a fifteen-year-old Chinese airline based out of the hub of Shanghai. It has a fleet of 74 aircraft and mainly operates domestic services throughout China. However, thanks to its success, it has been pushing for more international services since 2016.

It has expanded routes from Shanghai out to Cambodia, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan. It also flies up to the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok.

Juneyao jet take-off
Juneyao sees Europe as ripe for further expansion with its Dreamliner fleet. Photo:
Windmemories via Wikimedia

It operated an exclusive Airbus A320 fleet of 68 aircraft until 2018 when it accepted the delivery of six new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. The carrier still has another four to be delivered.

With these new aircraft, it was able to start a new route to Helsinki (and codeshare with Finnair) as well as Greece (scheduled to launch in June 2020) along with Istanbul, Turkey (likewise to begin in June 2020).

What do you think of this joint venture? Let us know in the comments.