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Finnair Celebrates 40 Years of Flying to Japan with Enhanced Connection Links to Ireland and UK

This weekend, Finnair will celebrate 40 years of flying to Japan in a major milestone for the Nordic carrier.

Finnair’s first flight to the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ took off on 22 April 1983, with a new non-stop service to Tokyo-Narita, becoming the only airline at the time to offer direct flights between Western Europe and Japan. 

Technological advancements with extra fuel tanks on its DC-10 aircraft allowed the Nordic carrier to increase the speed of service and forgoing transfers. 

It carved out a unique customer proposition by flying via the North Pole and the shortest routes between Europe and Asia.

Over the next four decades, Finnair established a formidable reputation for flying to the Far East and before the pandemic flew to more destinations in Japan, than any other European carrier. 

In response to increasing customer demand, Finnair became the popular gateway to Japan. 

With the start of direct services to Fukuoka in 2016, Finnair was the first – and only – European airline to operate to five different cities in Japan, including Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo and Tokyo. Finnair flights to Tokyo Narita, via the North Pole, resumed on 9 March 2022.

Anssi Partanen, Finnair market manager UK & Ireland, said: “Finnair made aviation history 40 years ago this week, and has remained one of the key airlines connecting Europe with Japan. 

“We are proud of our links to Japan and Asia, and achieving so many remarkable firsts in a highly competitive aviation sector in what is now our centenary year.

“Thanks to our geographic position, we have established Finnair as a firm bridge between the West and Asia and will look to rebuild our network while also looking to the US to expand our customer offering.

“Even during difficult times, Finnair’s fantastic people have come together as one team to take on the challenges of recent years head on and put the airline on course to navigate the next 100 years.”

Finnair is continuing to build back its Asian network with the restart of flights to Osaka in Japan on March 26*, complementing existing services to Tokyo-Haneda and Tokyo-Narita. 

These services have been specifically timed to allow easy connections from Finnair’s destinations across the UK and Ireland – including London Heathrow, Manchester, Dublin, and Edinburgh.

Customers looking to jump back into Japan can enjoy return fares with Finnair from London to Tokyo from £873 in Economy Class and from £4,150 in Business Class, including all taxes and charges. 

This coming summer season, Finnair’s new Premium Economy travel class is also available on flights to/from Tokyo Haneda, with return fares starting from £1,514, including all taxes and charges.

While Finnair remains firmly committed to the Far East and Asia, its new strategy – following the war in Ukraine and the closure of Russian Airspace – has seen the airline move towards a more geographically balanced network, connecting Europe to Asia, India, the Middle East and North America.

Geoff Percival
Geoff Percival
Geoff has worked in business, news, consumer and travel journalism for more than 25 years; having worked for and contributed to the likes of The Irish Examiner, Business & Finance, Business Plus, The Sunday Times, The Irish News, Senior Times, and The Sunday Tribune.
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