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Finnair to end long-haul freighter operations

Monday, 15 December 2014 13:40

In anticipation of the first shipment of 19 ordered A350-900s from Airbus next year, Finnair Cargo, the freight division of Helsinki-based Finnair, has decided to end the use of its long-haul freighter aircraft and rely entirely on the belly cargo space of its passenger fleet for airfreight.

Currently, all-cargo carrier Nordic Global Airlines, which is 40-percent owned by Finnair, operates a fleet of four MD-11s, two of which came from Finnair Cargo.

The MD-11s, which serve Hong Kong, New York, Hanoi and various African destinations from hubs in Helsinki and Liège, Belgium, will be phased out by the end of December, according to Finnair.

“Finnair Cargo does not see long-haul freighter operations with an MD-11 as a sustainable solution in today’s market situation laden with elements such as overcapacity, deteriorating yields and fluctuating currencies,” said Mikko Turtiainen, vice president, global sales, for Finnair Cargo.

The carrier expects to receive “the first batch” of A350 aircraft in the fourth quarter of 2015, Turtiainen said. “Finnair is the first European airline to receive the A350s, and the acquisition of the new long-haul aircraft will enable us to double our long-haul capacity from our Helsinki hub,” he added.

“By 2020, Finnair Cargo will offer belly capacity on over 140 weekly long-haul flights from Helsinki.” In the meantime, DHL is operating offer two weekly flights between Brussels and Helsinki for Finnair Cargo, using A300-600 freighters.  

For October, Finnair reported that cargo volume was 12,983 tonnes, a 3.2 percent drop, compared to the previous October. Of that total, only 9.6 percent (2,504 tonnes) was shipped on freighters.

The carrier’s belly cargo volume for the month dipped slightly by 0.4 percent, year-over-year, while its main-deck volume plunged 13.3 percent.

Besides the four Nordic Global MD-11s, Finnair operates eight A330-300s, seven A340-300s and 30 Airbus-built narrow-bodies for regional passenger service.

As the 19 new A350-900s start to arrive next year, Finnair will phase out its A340s by the end of 2017.

Last modified on Monday, 15 December 2014 13:50