Helsinki: Nordic airline Finnair said it is in talks with leading airlines in India to strike up partnerships for better local connectivity on the sub-continent. The Finnish flag carrier said recently that its India-based operation had provided a very big fillip to its overall Asia operations.
According to Jukka Hienonen, president and CEO, Finnair, the airline was in partnership talks with the leading airlines of India. Such a partnership would help in timetable coordination with connecting flights.
Finnair, which began operations in India in late 2006, will soon ramp up operations in the country to 13 flights a week, with daily flights to New Delhi and six flights a week to Mumbai from June.
As a member of the 'oneworld alliance,' the third largest airline alliance in the world, with members like British Airways, American Airlines, Iberia, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, LAN, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian in its ranks, Finnair is pushing for an Indian airline to be inducted into the alliance.
Since such an induction was under active consideration by the oneworld board, Finnair said it would naturally partner with such a carrier for its local tie up once membership is finalised.
Encouraged by the growth of its India traffic, the airline is also eyeing Bangalore and Chennai as likely destinations. The choice of a third destination, other than New Delhi and Mumbai, would likely be firmed up in two to three years time.
Finnair also said it was revamping its fleet and planned to phase out its Boeing MD-11s by early 2010, replacing them with Airbus A340s and A330s. According to Hienonen, five A330s would be inducted by the carrier to serve the India route by the first half of 2009.
The airline carried almost 8.6 million passengers in 2007, with 1.2 million on its Asia routes alone.
Finnair is one of the oldest operating airlines in the world, with 2008 being its 85th year of operation.