Helsinki airport is aiming to land a Gulf carrier and sees good potential for connections through their hubs to the Indian subcontinent and Australia.
The Gulf carriers have been gradually building their presence in the Nordic region but none of the big three currently serve the Finnish capital. Home carrier Finnair currently serves Dubai with frequencies varying on a seasonal basis.
A Helsinki link would give Gulf carriers access to feed to “the Middle East region, India, Africa and Australia”, says Joni Sundelin, senior vice president at the Helsinki airport operator Finavia. “Flight times from Helsinki to the Gulf hubs are exactly the same as from mainland European points like Frankfurt – for example six hours to Dubai – so we are really well positioned.”
One opportunity could come following Qatar Airways' accession to Oneworld at the end of October, as Helsinki is home to existing alliance member Finnair, adds Sundelin.
As it seeks new services and operators, Helsinki is making a play of its geographic location for serving Asian routes. “What we see as our value proposition is as the Northern European hub to Asia. We have 13 destinations in Asia with strong business into Japan and some Chinese cities,” says Sundelin.