Finnair plans to return to Hong Kong after 5-month hiatus
Finnair is set to return to Hong Kong after an unexpected five-month hiatus, with passenger flights resuming on July 7. Flights to the Asian airport will initially operate once a week, using the airline’s flagship Airbus A350s.
Hong Kong eases restrictions
The Nordic Finnish airline has decided to return to Hong Kong after the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) announced an official reopening of its borders to more international flights. Previously, Hong Kong was one of the most hermit cities in Asia due to its strict COVID-19 restrictions. One of these limitations did not allow mixed flights operated with foreign pilots and locally based cabin crew or vice versa, as this would complicate quarantine measures.
In response, Finnair has had no choice but to cut weekly frequencies to Hong Kong since February. The frequencies were eventually reduced from daily to five times a week, then to just three times a week, but that wouldn’t last very long. Finally, Finnair decided to suspend all flights to Hong Kong until the end of March, by which time things would hopefully have improved in terms of restrictions.
Unfortunately, at that time, Finnair faced an additional challenge, the closure of Russian airspace, which forced the Nordic carrier to make further changes to its Asian network schedules. This meant the continued suspension of flights to Hong Kong until the Asian city made an official reopening announcement. The restrictions were so drastic that ultimately only a small handful of European destinations were served direct or non-stop from Hong Kong International Airport.
Since November last year, Finnair previously operated a daily service until it was reduced to five times a week in February. Photo: Lukas Souza | single flight
Return with caution
With the official reopening, Finnair couldn’t be more excited to return to one of its most popular Asian destinations. However, the airline remains cautious, starting with just one weekly flight. Although it is uncertain when Finnair plans to increase frequencies, it will undoubtedly happen as Hong Kong continues to ease in the coming months.
|flight number||Departure time||Arriving time|
|AY99 (HEL – HKG)||00:05 (Thursday)||17:15|
|AY100 (HKG – HEL)||8:45 p.m. (Friday)||05:55 +1|
Previously, AY99 had a scheduled departure time of 11:55 p.m., which has since changed to 10 minutes after the upcoming resumption, although the scheduled departure time for the return flight remains the same. Finnair said the route was explicitly timed to allow more convenient connections from the airline’s destinations across the UK and Ireland, including London, Manchester, Dublin and Edinburgh.
With the easing of restrictions on the mainland and in Hong Kong, Finnair may soon resume flights to China. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Single flight.
A new experience awaits you
Finnair’s return to Hong Kong is only good news for passengers traveling on this route. Because from August 4, Finnair will offer a premium long-haul experience with a brand new Premium Economy cabin. The approximately 12 hours of flight time will feel like a good night’s sleep for passengers, as the Premium Economy cabin offers approximately 50% more space than a single Economy seat.
The oneworld member airline will benefit from a new business class seat arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration. Although the new seats cannot recline inside the enclosed shell, they still offer an extended bed allowing passengers to tuck their feet into a recess under the front seat table. This may seem unusual for a Business Class seat, but as David Kondo, who leads Finnair’s Customer Experience team, explains:
“By removing complicated seat mechanisms and using 3D curved shells, we are able to provide a larger flexible living space. This allows you to move more freely and take on different positions than airplane seats traditional do not allow.”
Moreover, even the economy class cabin was quickly refreshed. Described as a Nordic class, the new seats are considered the widest in the category and also come across as lighter as they feature memory foam cushions. Finnair will also benefit from improved ergonomics to improve passenger travel comfort and additional storage capacities to ensure that no one loses anything during their flight.