A look at the map makes the dilemma clear. Finnair’s advantage on routes to Asian destinations such as Tokyo, Singapore or Seoul has always been the direct connection from Helsinki. The airline specialized in these long-haul routes.
However, since the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, Finnair has been unable to use Russian airspace. This made the Asia routes thousands of kilometers longer in one fell swoop. This initially resulted in the Finnish airline giving greater priority to destinations in the Middle East than before.
But recently, business in the Far East picked up again. Finnair has now responded with modifications to 10 of its 17 Airbus A350-900. Together with Airbus, they primarily “made minor changes and updates to the aircraft software,” as the airline explains. As a result, the jets now have a higher maximum take-off weight. No changes to the seating were necessary.
“Finnair has made the changes to aircraft that regularly serve Seoul and Tokyo, two of the longer intercontinental routes,” the airline said. With the loss of Russian airspace and longer flight routes, “the typically lighter take-off weight had limited the number of customers and the amount of cargo each aircraft could carry given the longer flight times.”
Now the A350-900 can once again transport more passengers, freight and, above all, kerosene. According to the airline, the total capacity can be increased by up to eight tons, depending on the aircraft, the route and the flight time. “The software compensates for the change in center of gravity and maintains the same handling characteristics, so the way the aircraft flies doesn’t change,” says Finnair.
Although the Finnish airline has only now informed about the modifications, they were completed in the first two weeks of January. Operations with the Airbus A350, the new maximum take-off weight, began on January 18th.
Finnair operates the A350-900 in four different cabin variants with 278, 297, 321 and 336 seats. In addition to the 17 aircraft that are already part of the fleet, the airline has open orders for two more of the machines from Airbus.
This article was written by Timo Nowack
The original of this article “Finnair adapts Airbus A350 for routes beyond Russia” comes from aeroTelegraph.