Finnair Starts Long-Haul Airbus A350 Flights From Sweden

Finnair has inaugurated Stockholm Arlanda to Bangkok, Phuket, and Miami, motivated by the gap left by Norwegian, the uptick in leisure demand, and lower demand across its core Asian markets. New York JFK and Los Angeles will be coming from Arlanda in the next two months.

Finnair A350
Finnair will have five long-haul routes from Stockholm this winter. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr.

Finnair begins Bangkok, Phuket, and Miami

The Finland flag carrier is now operating long-haul routes from Sweden. On October 22nd, its first flight from Stockholm Arlanda to Bangkok launched, followed the next day by Miami, and on October 24th by the ever-popular Thai resort area of Phuket. This is one of multiple developments for Arlanda, with Ryanair and Eurowings also creating bases at the airport.

Finnair uses seventh freedom traffic rights, whereby it operates standalone services that don’t touch Finland. This freedom of the air is seldom used and only really possible because both Sweden and Finland are EU nations. Very few other long-haul carriers use it.

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Only the A350-900  is used from Sweden, with the inaugural flights on all three routes using two 336-seat aircraft: OH-LWR and OH-LWP. These economy-heavy aircraft have 262 seats in economy, 42 in premium economy, and 32 in business. The 336-seat layout is Finnair’s densest configuration; they have one-quarter more economy seats than its 297-seat A350s.

Two weekly flights each

Finnair has two flights a week to each of Miami, Bangkok, and Phuket. Both Thai destinations face head-to-head competition from Thai Airways (Bangkok twice weekly; Phuket weekly). Miami, meanwhile, has two weekly flights with SAS.

Finnair’s schedule in the first week of November is as follows (all times are local). Note that times are different then – in the first week of the aviation winter – than in the current week.

  • AY17: Arlanda to Miami, Wednesdays and Sundays; 14:20-19:55
  • AY18: Miami to Arlanda, Wednesdays and Sundays, 21:45-11:45+1 the next day
  • AY145: Arlanda to Bangkok, Mondays and Thursdays; 16:25-09:15+1 the next day
  • AY146: Bangkok to Arlanda, Tuesdays and Fridays; 10:55-16:25
  • AY153: Arlanda to Phuket, Thursdays and Sundays; 16:55-10:30+1 the next day
  • AY154: Phuket to Arlanda, Mondays and Fridays; 12:15-18:30
Finnair A350-900
On October 23rd, Finnair positioned OH-LWP from Helsinki to Arlanda on a normal scheduled flight to the Swedish capital (AY801). It landed at 07:50, turned around, and operated the inaugural flight to Miami, Florida. Photo: Benjamin Helander via Flickr.

JFK and Los Angeles are coming

Los Angeles will join Bangkok, Phuket, and Miami from November 2nd (three-weekly) and New York JFK from December 7th (initially three-weekly, later rising to four-weekly). Neither route will have direct competition, although Star Alliance member SAS serves Newark.

Finnair’s focus on the US is partly because its core Asian network is still down significantly. This has led to more emphasis on North America, with capacity to the region now 9% above the 2019 level. As the carrier’s CEO said recently:

“If we look at the immediate term, we are looking for possibilities to redeploy the capacity, temporarily, for example to North America, while waiting for Asia to come back.”

Moreover, Bangkok, JFK, and Los Angeles were chosen because of gaps left by the exit of Norwegian, together with SAS to Los Angeles (which ended in 2020). Meanwhile, Phuket and Miami are popular winter destinations for Scandinavians.

What do you make of Finnair from Stockholm? Let us know in the comments.