Mumbai: Nordic carrier Finnair, buoyed by increasing revenues from its India operations, will increase the number of flights to India on Saturdays and add new destinations in addition to Mumbai and Delhi.
The airline is eying Bangalore and Chennai, even as it began tapping the growing Indian traffic to Europe and North America, with Helsinki as the base.
Finnair is currently awaiting permission from the government to increase destinations to India.
"We currently operate seven flights a week to Delhi from Helsinki and five more to Mumbai. From this week, we are adding one more flight to Mumbai," said Taina Tornstrom, Finnair's director for Indian subcontinent.
"We also want to add more destinations and hope we get the permission after the next aviation pact with India,'' Tornstrom said, adding, Finnair's Asian passenger traffic grew over 30 per cent last year thanks to India operations.
Finnair, meanwhile, has stopped its Tuesday flights from Mumbai and instead will operate flights from Mumbai on Saturdays and Sundays to tap the weekend traffic out of India to Europe and beyond.
Tornstrom said the market in India has great potential with some 70 Finnish firms like Nokia and industrial cranes major Kone having a major presence in the country. Indian software giants like Infosys, Sasken and Wipro also had their bases in Finland.
Visas issued to Indians by the Finnish embassy in India had also increased from 40,000 in 2006 to around 60,000 in 2007, reflecting the growing interest in Finland, Finnair officials said.
Finnair also offered the shortest possible links between Europe and India, and with improved connectivity, its services between India and the US, too, officials claimed.
"We offer the second-fastest connection between Mumbai and New York. It just takes 17 hours," Tornstrom said. The Air-India flights between the two destinations, the shortest currently, take around 15:30 hours.