A press conference was held today (Oct. 23, 2015) at the Grand Hyatt Fukuoka by Finnair for the recently announced non-stop Fukuoka – Helsinki route. In attendance were Fukuoka Governor Hiroshi Ogawa, Fukuoka City Mayor Soichiro Takashima, Seiji Isoyama (Chairman, Fukuoka Chamber of Commerce), and Shuichi Kameyama (Executive Director, JNTO, Inbound Promotion Department); and from Finnair, Petri Vuori (Vice President Sales, Commercial Division), Hiroaki Nagahara (Sales Director, Japan), and Hiroyuki Hotta (Sales Manager, West Japan). And, of course, Finland’s most famous character, Moomin!
Operating since 1923, Finnair is one of the oldest airlines in the world, and this year will break the 10,000,000 passenger milestone. They already have flights between Helsinki and Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya and, beginning this spring, Fukuoka. The official starting date for the Fukuoka route is May 8, but the airline is trying to move that date up to include the Golden Week period. Initially the route will be a summer-only service, ending on Oct. 1, but Finnair’s Petri Vuori mentioned that many new routes start out seasonal and, provided sales are good, switch to operating year-round.
For the past six years, Finnair has been voted the best airline in Northern Europe, has a 4-star rating by Startrax, and, despite the harsh winters, boasts a 99% successful connection rate at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Finnair offers some of the fastest services to Europe from Japan. The Fukuoka flight will take just nine hours and thirty minutes! And once you’ve arrived in Helsinki, Finnair offers sixty connections to other destinations, making it an ideal hub airport. The airport was designed to facilitate quick and easy transfers, and is actually walkable – unlike some other huge hub airports.
At least one third of the cabin crew will be Japanese, and all the signage will have Japanese translations, so Japanese passengers will not be inconvenienced. Furthermore, thanks to very close relationships with Japan Airlines and British Airways, it will be possible to book flights utilising these carriers to make very convenient and inexpensive itineraries. And even if you do have a layover at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, there are Finnish saunas to relax in!
Fukuoka departures will be on Wed., Fri. and Sun. at 09:30, arriving in Helsinki at 13:55, and return flights will leave Finland on Tue., Thu. and Sat. at 16:30, arriving in Fukuoka at 08:00 the next day. The planes will be Airbus A330-300, with 218 seats in economy and 45 in business class.
Finnair’s Website (Japan): http://www.finnair.com/jp/gb/destinations/asia-pacific/japan