Finnair has confirmed that a ceremony marking handover of its first Airbus A350 will take place on 7 October.

The jet will be used on the Finnish flag carrier's Helsinki-Shanghai route from 21 November, adds the airline.

Finnair is also planning to operate within its Asian network A350 services to Beijing, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore, and will later this year become the first airline to deploy the type to a US destination: New York.

Initially, however, the first A350 will fly more locally. "For the first few weeks, the new aircraft will serve crew familiarisation flights in Europe, with the first commercial flights taking place on 9 October to Amsterdam and Oslo," says Finnair's chief operating officer Ville Iho.

The airline acknowledges that it has "slightly adjusted its Airbus A350 long-haul launch schedule, due to changes in the expected delivery schedules of the company's first A350 aircraft, the needs of the crew familiarisation programme, and other operational factors."

It adds: "The company wants to offer the best possible customer experience for its customers, and has therefore adopted a slightly more conservative launch schedule than previously indicated."

Finnair has 19 A350s on orders, with deliveries running until 2023.

"Introducing 19 new aircraft into our fleet over a period of eight years is a major programme for Finnair," says Iho. "We have built the necessary flexibility into our preparedness plans and our A340 exit plan to adjust to any changes that may arise over the course of this massive programme, ensuring a smooth introduction of the new aircraft into our fleet."

Source: Cirium Dashboard