The closure of Russian airspace due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent diplomatic fallout has caused headaches for many carriers operating through it to get to Asia. One airline that has suffered in particular is Finnair, whose “short route” east has been a major selling point for Helsinki as a transfer hub for travelers between Europe and Asia. However, the carrier has now announced a boost to its Asian services, adding daily direct flights to Tokyo Haneda under the campaign name Toky-go!
Daily flights starting next week
Flights on Finnair’s second Tokyo route will begin October 30, about three weeks after Japan eased its COVID-19 entry restrictions, once more allowing tourists back in after over two years of severe entry and quarantine requirements. Flights will operate daily and depart Helsinki Airport at 17:55, arriving into Tokyo Haneda at 14:25 the following afternoon. The return flight will push back from the gate at Haneda at 21:55, arriving back in Helsinki at 04:25 the following morning.
The times have been specifically chosen for travelers connecting onwards from or to the airline’s UK and Ireland destinations – London Heathrow, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Dublin. Because all flights operate from the same terminal at HEL, connections can be made in as little as 35 minutes. Andrew Fish, Finnair General Manager UK Ireland & Benelux, said,
“The launch of Finnair flights to Tokyo-Haneda marks a major milestone in the resumption of services to Japan and Asia. We know customers will appreciate the return of the shorter northern route between Europe and Japan even with the closure of Russian airspace, and quick connections between flights at our Helsinki hub.”.
A350 with premium economy installed
The airline will operate its Airbus A350-900 aircraft on the route, of which it has 17 in its Airbus-focused fleet. These feature all-new long-haul cabins with Air Lounge business class seats, a new premium economy product, and refurbished economy seats.
Definite detour on the way to Tokyo
Finnair already operates a twice-weekly service to Tokyo Narita, having resumed flights on the route in March after initially suspending them due to aforementioned airspace constraints. And, of course, it is not only Russian airspace that Finnair needs to circumvent but Ukrainian as well. Below is an image of the flight path of AY73 from Helsinki to Tokyo Narita on Monday, October 24. The flight took 12 hours and 40 minutes, about three hours longer than when flying over Russia.