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Asian stopovers to Europe regaining popularity: Finnair

written by australianaviation.com.au | May 26, 2016
Finnair has ordered 19 Airbus A350-900s. (Finnair)
Finnair has ordered 19 Airbus A350-900s. (Finnair)

Finnair’s Australian boss Geoff Stone says stopping over in Asia on the way to Europe is coming back into favour amid geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.

Although Finnair does not serve this market with its own aircraft, the airline has codeshare arrangements with British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas, as well as interline agreements with Japan Airlines, to take passengers from Australia to Asia, where they transfer onto Finnair’s services to Helsinki and beyond.

And Stone says connections through Asian points such as Singapore and Hong Kong have been on the rise in recent times, helping boost Finnair’s sales in Australia.

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Finnair country sales manager for Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. (Finnair)
Finnair country sales manager for Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. (Finnair)

“It comes in waves in terms of going via the Middle East or going via Asia. We are finding that with the unrest that goes on in the Middle East that Asia’s coming back into its own in terms of the preferred gateway to Europe,” Stone tells Australian Aviation in the June issue of the magazine.

“I have often heard this comment that ‘I’ve been to Dubai many times now and I am a little bit bored by it or the shopping is no cheaper than Australia and I have more options within Asia’.

“We are getting a lot of repeat customers and people have no problem with going to Europe once a year these days.”

While the total market for Australians travelling to Europe was up about four per cent in the first three months of 2016, Finnair reported a 20 per cent increase in bookings from this part of the world, compared with the prior corresponding period.

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Further, the airline was the only offline carrier included in the federal government’s air travel services panel, meaning it can capture a slice of the roughly $420 million in travel that politicians and public servants undertake each year.

Finnair has also been named Best Offline International Carrier at the Australian Federation of Travel Agents’ National Travel Industry Awards for the past three years.

“I think Finnair Australia is somewhat bucking the trend in terms of what sort of increases we are experiencing compared to the market as a whole,” Stone says.

“In this market, of recent times we have somewhat taken over the mantle as the largest offline carrier.”

Stone describes the inclusion on the government’s 18-airline list as a “huge vote of confidence” in the airline.

Read more about Finnair in the June edition of Australian Aviation, on sale now.

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9 Comments

  • Mark

    says:

    Qantas, please take note and give us choice!! Please return Singapore as a hub option on QF metal.

  • Ron Hall

    says:

    About time Qantas reintroduced flights to London via Singapore. Not everyone is charmed by Dubai which is, ugly, boring and the shopping is not a good reason for stopping there. Next time I fly I will use BA which flies via Singapore.

  • Jono

    says:

    Would be interesting to know how many QF passengers have a stop over in DXB compared to the numbers when it was SIN/BKK/HKG.

  • franz chong

    says:

    Many of us and it’s not just for political or safety reasons the Asian Stopovers are the preferred way to go.I did the London trip but with Singapore Airlines back in 2011 and can’t get enough of the place.safe to get around in,easy,clean and the shopping is excellent did I forget to mention the sightseeing and the food.Hong Kong via Cathay Pacific also offers all of the above.Should I go again I am even willing to give Japan Airlines via Tokyo for something different a chance.Off the topic a little how many of us remember the era when we had the US Carriers via the West Coast of the USA offer the option of a few days in LA before continuing onto London or Europe of which the attractions were Disneyland,Universal Studios,Santa Monica,Beverly Hills/Rodeo Drive and even Knotts Berry Farm.Any of the above options has to be better than the Middle East to be honest.I would never consider unless it’s to somewhere like Athens or Eastern Europe or to Munich hubbing via Dubai,Abu Dhabi or Doha except if it’s the only option or the cheapest by far.

  • Kevin

    says:

    “Asia” by definition offers by far more diverse options for those wanting a stopover. DBX is one destination, whereas there are many ports in Asia that one could choose to route through. Personally I think Asia is the way to go if wanting to break the trip up and have a stop over, but DBX just “feels” quicker (for whatever reason) if needing to go straight through. I guess it’s knocking over the long leg first and then only having to endure the short leg second that makes it feel quicker versus Asia which is short first/long second.

  • Ross

    says:

    My wife with some pleasure are “returning” to Asia on our next LHR trip in August by flying BA via Singapore. Dubai is now just too big and complicated compared to the past. Also the in terminal hotel treats you like cattle.
    Ross

  • Mark Taylor

    says:

    I have flown Finnair to Europe many times over the past six years for the following reasons:

    1). One World carrier offering excellent business class value with good service, lie flat beds (most services) and now new A350 aircraft

    2). Helsinki is a convenient and efficient airport to clear customs and immigration for Europe

    3). The attraction of an Asian stopover

    I always thought that Qantas would ultimately regret not being able to offer Asian stopovers en route to Europe as Dubai does not offer the same variety of experience for the traveller looking to stopover. The main advantage of the QF/EK partnership for the traveller is the one stop offering to so many European destinations. I am happy to have two stops, include my Asian stopover and make significant savings on my airfare by flying Finnair.

  • Simon Geddes

    says:

    If QF withdrew from Dubai, they would likely lose their EK alliance. The reality is: Qantas needs Emirates to survive internationally (or to maintain their London presence). Qantas has been racking up losses for years in the international market.
    If they resumed services via Singapore or Bangkok, they would find themselves in the unenviable position of competing with EK for European customers. Better to offer codeshares with BA and Finnair via Southeast Asia.
    I’ve flown with Finnair via HKG and also via BKK. Great stopover locations and great to fly with CX and AY.

  • Ian Deans

    says:

    I gave up on Qantas long ago. Now that I have been through Dubai once I won’t go to Europe that way again. Give us the Asian carriers anytime……Singapore, KL, Bangkok, Hong Kong, even the various Chinese cities en route offer much more attractive options.

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