Finnair started its intercontinental traffic 40 years ago with flights to New
York. The flights were operated with four-engine DC-8 jet aircraft, which
represented the last word in aviation technology at the time. 

The launch of the new route was preceded by monumental preparation. The company
wanted to arrive in style and to make a lasting impression. Finnair wanted to
represent everything Finnish, including design, style and service. All foremost
Finnish designers were employed to create the display. Something unprecedented
in the airline world had begun. 

The DC-8 aircraft had a revolutionary navigation system, similar to that of the
space shuttle that took Neil Armstrong and the first astronauts to the moon.
Finland's top talents were consulted in designing the interior of the aircraft. 

The cabin attendants were no ordinary stewardesses but Finn Hostesses, who were
especially trained to work on these flights to New York, wearing new designer
uniforms every year. The purpose was to express Finnish hospitality in every
way, with champagne and caviar served in first class. 

While Finnair was preparing to launch its new route to New York,
Helsinki-Vantaa Airport was undergoing significant changes: airport facilities
were moved from barrack-like premises to a proper terminal building, from which
the first passengers started out on their maiden flight to New York on May 15,
1969. 

For the first 15 years, Finnair flew to New York via Copenhagen and Amsterdam.
Nonstop flights began in 1984, when the company acquired its first wide-bodied
aircraft, the DC-10. 

The four decades of flights to New York have been carried out with four
different aircraft types, all of which have represented the peak of technology
in their time. The DC-8 was first followed by the DC-10, and eventually by the
Boeing MD-11. Today the route is flown with Airbus A330, a modern wide-bodied
aircraft. Finnair will receive a total of five new A330s by the end of the
year. 

New York continues to be one of Finnair's most important destinations. With
direct flights from Helsinki to New York, North America was no longer a land
far away, but an accessible destination for both business and leisure
travelers. In addition, this route has always been popular with gateway
travelers from North America to Russia, the Baltic region, and Northern Europe. 

At present, Finnair flies to New York daily, with three extra weekly flights
added for the summer schedule. 

Now, 40 years after the route was first launched, Finnair is experiencing
monumental changes again. Helsinki-Vantaa Airport is expanding, Finnair is
renewing its aircraft fleet, and increasing emphasis in the company strategy is
placed on the long-haul network. 

Finnair's first A330 aircraft flew its maiden flight to New York on April 6,
2009, not long before the route's 40th birthday. At the same time, Finnair's
new lighter and brighter cabin interior was introduced. With the A330, the New
York route is once again entering a new era: the aircraft's technical
qualities, reliability, fuel efficiency, and cabin comfort are in a class of
their own. 

Finnair's aim for the new decade is to maintain the shortest, fastest and most
ecological route between Asia and America, supported by Helsinki's favorable
geographical position. 

Finnair Plc
Communications
15.5.2009

For more  information, please refer to the Finnair group site, address
http://www.finnairgroup.com/mediaen/mediaen_9_2.html and for pictures from the
route's early days at www.fav.fi and the Finnair blog,
http://blogit.finnair.fi/2009/05/13/newyork40. 

Additional information: 
Finnair Media Desk tel. +358 9 818 4020 or media.desk(a)finnair.com
Finnair's blogs: http://blogs.finnair.com
Photobank: www.finnair.com/gallery
Finnair Group website: www.finnairgroup.com
via.Helsinki: www.viahelsinki.com