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100 facts about Finnair 100 days before its 100th anniversary


Finnair shares 100 fascinating facts about the airline


With Finnair’s 100th anniversary just 100 days away, the airline has shared its top 100 fascinating facts.


These range from when the airline was founded to the ordering of new aircraft, when it first flew over the North Pole and even how many millions of litres of blueberry juice are served each year.


With just 100 days to go and Finnair gearing up for its centenary celebrations, the airline’s long history as the world’s sixth oldest carrier still operating, has served up some memorable firsts:


  1. Finnair was founded on 1 November 1923
  2. Finnair is the sixth oldest airline in the world still in operation
  3. Finnair was originally called Aero
  4. The airline’s code is AY which stands for Aero Osake-yhtiö (“yhtiö” means “company” in Finnish)
  5. The airline is the official flag carrier of Finland
  6. Finnair’s colour palette of blue and white is based on the Finnish national flag’s colours of  blue and white
  7. During its first year of operation the airline carried a total of 269 passengers
  8. Aero – which became Finnair – received its first aircraft, a German-made Junkers F 13 in 1924
  9. The Finnair-operated Junker F 13 carried just four passengers, in addition to seating for the pilot and an engineer
  10. As there were no commercial airfields in Finland, the Junkers it flew were seaplanes, used skis in winter and floats in summer
  11. Finnair’s first flight was to Tallinn, Estonia in 1924, carrying 162 kilos of mail
  12. Half of the fleet was requisitioned by the Finnish Air Force and between 1939 and 1940, half the airline’s passengers from other Finnish cities were children being evacuated to Sweden
  13. During World War Two, Finnair was put under military control and only went back to commercial use in 1944
  14. In 1946, the Finnish State acquired a majority holding in the airline
  15. Aero started using the name Finnish Air Lines on its fleet livery in 1947
  16. In 1947 Aero recruited its first stewardesses, who flew on domestic routes from Helsinki to Kemi and Kuopio
  17. Finnair joined the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in 1949
  18. Helsinki Airport officially opened in June 1952, and has been Finnair’s home ever since
  19. The Helsinki Olympic games in 1952 increased Aero’s passenger number to over 100,000 for the first time
  20. In 1953 Aero started using the name Finnair in 1953, even though it didn’t officially adopt the name until 1968
  21. Finnair’s first flight to London took place in 1954
  22. It became the first western airline to fly to Moscow, in 1956
  23. Aero became the first small airline to enter the jet age in 1960 with its new Caravelle passenger jets
  24. In 1961, Finnair joined the jet age by adding Rolls-Royce Avon-engined Caravelles to its fleet
  25. Finnair became the first airline in the world to operate a jet passenger aircraft with a Flight Crew of two, instead of the normal three
  26. Finnair’s Aviation Academy opened in 1964
  27. By 1967, 95% of Finnair’s scheduled flights were operated by jets
  28. In 1968 Finnair carried a million passengers for the first time in its history
  29. Finnair underwent its brand refresh in 1968 and launched the new brand logo which is recognisable today
  30. Finnair flights from Helsinki to New York via Copenhagen and Amsterdam began in May 1969
  31. Finnair received its first wide-body aircraft – DC-10s, which carried nearly 300 passengers in 1975
  32. Finnair started its expansion to Asia with direct flights to Bangkok in 1976
  33. The carrier launched its first trademark ‘shorter route’ service to Asia in 1976 with direct flights to Bangkok
  34. Finnair first flew over the North Pole in 1983
  35. Finnair was the first airline to operate non-stop flights between Western Europe and Japan when it started flying to Tokyo Narita airport in 1983
  36. Finnair becomes the official airline of Santa Claus in 1983
  37. Finnair was the first airline to acquire satellite telephones for its DC-10 aircraft in 1986, enabling passengers to call from the aircraft to anywhere in the world
  38. Finnair received its first Airbus aircraft in 1986
  39. Direct flights from Helsinki to Beijing began in 1988, making Finnair the first Western European airline to offer non-stop flights between Europe and China
  40. Finnair was the launch customer of the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 in 1989
  41. After years of negotiations Finnair was allowed to fly over Siberia, to Tokyo direct, cutting flight times by three hours in 1991
  42. The Finnair Plus program was introduced in 1992
  43. The first call in a satellite phone installed in Finnair’s fleet of MD-11 aircraft was made on flight AY1507 to Las Palmas
  44. Finnair launched flights to Osaka in 1995, becoming the airline’s second destination in Japan
  45. In 1995, Finnair’s launched its first website and in terms of content and scope, it was one of the most comprehensive in the world offered by any airline at the time
  46. Finnair’s collaboration with Moomin’s began in 1997
  47. Finnair joined the oneworld alliance 25 years ago in 1998
  48. In 1998 Finnair became the first airline in Europe to acquire defibrillators
  49. Finnair received its first Airbus A320 series aircraft in 1999
  50. All Finnair’s flights became non-smoking when smoking was finally prohibited on flights to Tokyo and Osaka in 1999
  51. Flights to Hong Kong first began in 2002
  52. Services to Shanghai began in 2003 and Finnair became the only Northern European airline, as well as the only oneworld airline to offer direct flights to China’s biggest city
  53. In 2004 Finnair introduced the world’s first mobile phone service enabling customers to check-in in advance for flights with a text message
  54. Finnair has operated flight AY 666 to HEL since 2006 which has flown numerous times on Friday 13th
  55. Finnair’s long-haul fleet modernisation was initiated in 2007 by ordering several new Airbus A330 and A340 wide-body aircraft to replace its MD-11 fleet
  56. In 2007 Finnair was the first airline to order the Airbus A350
  57. Finnair partnered with Angry Birds in 2011 to create the “longest ever flight of Angry Birds.”
  58. Since 2012, Finnish design-house Marimekko, became an integral part of the Finnair air travel experience, with their designs appearing on customer’s blankets and amenity kits
  59. Finnair celebrated the 90th anniversary of its maiden flight in 2014. By this time there was a Finnair aircraft flying somewhere in the world every hour of the year
  60. Finnair was the first European airline to operate the Airbus A350 XWB in 2015
  61. In 2017, Finnair increased its passenger numbers by over one million and flew almost 12 million passengers across its global network
  62. In 2018 Finnair introduced internet connectivity to its short-haul European flights
  63. In 2019, Finnair joins a Nordic led Initiative for Electric Aviation that supports the development of electric aviation
  64. In 2021, Finnair dismantled and recycled a 21-year-old A319 aircraft at Helsinki Airport – the first commercial airliner to be recycled in Finland
  65. In 2021, Finnair began flying from Stockholm-Arlanda to cater for increased leisure demand during the pandemic
  66. In February 2022, Finnair unveiled its $220 million investment with a new Business Class seat and its first ever Premium Economy cabin
  67. Before the closure of Russian airspace in February 2022 Finnair flew to more destinations in China and Japan than any other European airline
  68. In 2022 Finnair became the official Sponsors of the Finnish National Ice Hockey Team at the 2022 IIHF World Championship
  69. As part of its renewed strategy in 2022, Finnair launched new routes from Helsinki to Dallas and Seattle in the US
  70. Finnair opened routes from Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen to Doha in 2022, as part of its new partnership with Qatar Airways
  71. In 2023 Finnair led the way by removing inflight retail from its flights as part of their sustainability drive
  72. In 2023, Finnair teamed up with iconic Finnish footwear and apparel brand Karhu to design an exclusive sneaker for its ground and air crew
  73. To celebrate Finnair’s centenary, the airline has partnered with the Finnish postal service to create a special stamp
  74. Finnair has been named the ‘Best Airline in Northern Europe’ for 13 years running by Skytrax
  75. Finnair aims to be a carbon-neutral airline by the end of 2045
  76. Finnair’s Platinum Wing lounge at Helsinki Airport is one of the only airport lounges to offer a sauna
  77. Finnish designer Tapio Wirkkala’s glassware, Ultima Thule, was introduced on Finnair’s New York route. The classic design is still being used today in Finnair Business Class
  78. The melting spring ice in northern Finland was the inspiration for the Iittala Ultima Thule line of textured glassware – available on Finnair flights
  79. Finnair has painted two of its aircraft with well-known characters from the Finnish cartoon characters The Moomins – Moomintroll and Snorkmaiden
  80. Finnair’s current Cabin Crew uniform is designed by the Finnish artist Ritva-Liisa Pohjalainen
  81. Currently, Finnair only faces direct competition on two of its long-haul routes – Shanghai and Tokyo Haneda
  82. Finnair serves a million litres of blueberry juice each year and has become Finnair’s signature onboard drink
  83. Finnair uses ambient light settings on their aircraft to recreate the Northern Lights for customers onboard
  84. During the pandemic Finnair sold its Business Class inflight meals in Finnish grocery stores
  85. Finnair is the only airline to offer fully-lie flat yet non-recline Business Class seats for long-haul flights
  86. Two Finnair aircraft – an Airbus A330 and A350 – were painted in Marimekko’s instantly recognisable and bold design
  87. Finnair has been consistently named as one of the world’s safest airlines
  88. The Finnish government owns a majority stake in Finnair
  89. Many of Finnair’s long-haul inflight dining options are a fusion of Nordic and Asian dishes
  90. Nordic Regional Airlines (Norra) is 40% owned by Finnair
  91. Finnair employs around 1,700 Cabin Crew and 900 Flight Crew, based in Finland
  92. Finnair repainted one of its Airbus A319’s into a ‘silver bird’ retro 1950s Convair livery as part of its 90th anniversary celebrations
  93. Finnair have a choir of staff named the Finnair Singers
  94. Finnair flies to 14 destinations within Finland
  95. Finnair has scheduled flights to 89 international destinations
  96. Finnair operates wide body aircraft on its short-haul European flights to London and Amsterdam
  97. During the pandemic, when aircraft were grounded, Finnair launched virtual reality flights to Lapland
  98. Finnair is part of the Transatlantic Joint Business with British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, American Airlines and Level
  99. Finnair currently operates a fleet of 79 short and long-haul aircraft
  100. Finally, Finnair has a signature cocktail named Northern Blush.

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