Finnair to reschedule India flights from winter

August 19th, 2008 - 2:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 19 (IANS) Nordic carrier Finnair has decided to reschedule its operations to India from this winter to offer better connectivity and convenient flight timings to at least 12 destinations in Europe, a senior airline official has said.“From this winter, that is from October-end, passengers travelling from Delhi to Helsinki and at least 12 other destinations in Europe will get the advantage of morning flights,” said Kari Stolbow, Finnair’s director for Indian subcontinent.

“Similarly our flights out of Mumbai have also been pushed forward slightly to give the passengers a similar advantage,” Stolbow, who took charge of Finnair operations in the Indian subcontinent last week, told IANS.

“In the process, we are temporarily having to reduce the frequency of our daily flights to New Delhi by a day and to Mumbai, where we now operate six days a week, to four days,” he added.

Some of the destinations that will have much better connectivity following the winter rescheduling include Barcelona, Lisbon, Madrid, Milan and Munich.

“We will also continue to be the fastest to ferry passengers to as many as 16 out of 38 destinations in Europe. What we will be unable to serve, as we have been doing now, is the Mumbai-New York sector, because of the rescheduling.”

Finnair’s flights will now depart New Delhi at 11.30 a.m. and reach Helsinki at 3 p.m., while the flights out of Mumbai will leave at 9.15 a.m. and reach Helsinki at 2.05 p.m.

On return, the flights leave the Finnish capital at 8 p.m. and reach New Delhi at 6 a.m., while the flights to Mumbai leave Helsinki at 5.25 p.m. and reach Mumbai at 4.30 in the morning.

Stolbow said the current turmoil in the aviation sector had forced many carriers to rethink on several routes across the globe but the Nordic carrier continued to remain bullish on the Indian market.

“We certainly look forward to the review of the bilateral civil aviation pact between Finland and India since we have been looking at two destinations very closely - Chennai and Bangalore,” he said.

This is to address the growing demand from some 100-odd Finnish companies in India, including Nokia, Kone, Wartsila and Elcoteq.

At present the bilateral pact with India allows Finnish carriers to fly seven days a week each to New Delhi and Mumbai - a quota which Finnair had virtually exhausted within two years of commencing operations to India.

The carrier had started with three flights to New Delhi in October 2006. This was upgraded to a daily service by May 2007. Likewise, the operations to Mumbai started with just five flights in last year, but upgraded to six now.

The carrier is not new to the Indian market. It has been flying charters to Goa, an attractive winter destination for Finns, for more than 20 years.

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