Finnair to restart Mumbai operations from October


New Delhi : Hoping for a revival of passenger demand, Nordic carrier Finnair has decided to restart its Mumbai operations from October even as it has inducted a new fleet of Airbus aircraft to operate on the Delhi-Helsinki-New York sector.

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The carrier had to recently cut back on its Mumbai-Helsinki operations due to a host of reasons, including the retirement of old aircraft and a general decline in passenger demand, said Kari Stolbow, director for the Indian subcontinent.

“Oct 18 will be the date from which we restart our Mumbai-Helsinki operations. For one week, we will carry passengers on MD-11 aircraft, after which we will deploy brand new Airbus A-330-300 aircraft,” Stolbow told IANS.

Since Friday, Finnair also started operating on new A330-300 aircraft on its Delhi-Helsinki-New York sector where the transit time at the Finnish capital is just 40 minutes.

“We have a very competitive offer of just Rs.20,000 for Delhi to New York, exclusive of taxes. It takes just 16 hours and 45 minutes between the two cities, which includes the 40 minute halt at Helsinki,” said Stolbow.

He said this was just about an hour more than the non-stop flight.

“We have plans to make this sector a daily operation from August,” he said. The carrier currently operates out of Delhi on five out of seven days a week, with no flights on Thursdays and Saturdays.

“The departure time is also best suited for the Indian traveller – 8:35 am. So you can have breakfast in Delhi, lunch at Helsinki and tea in New York.”

According to the senior Finnair executive, who has been with the carrier for 27 years, India was the top growth market for the company in Asia, which accounts for 40 percent of its revenues.

“We surely see a revival of passenger traffic from October. Airlines generally are the first to feel the pinch of a slowdown and also benefit first during a revival,” Stolbow said.