Finnair has partnered with Slush, Europe’s leading start-up event from Finland, to speed up innovation within and advance digitalisation inside the airline.
Together with Slush, the Finnish airline will seek and identify potential start-up partners for strategic collaboration projects. The target is to find new innovative partners, with whom Finnair will conduct long-term cooperation projects to enhance its products and services, improve its processes and create new business opportunities.
Come November, Slush will gather close to 2,000 start-ups, 800 venture capitalists, and 700 journalists from over 100 countries together in Helsinki to create and explore business opportunities.
“We want to explore the various opportunities digitalisation can bring to the different parts of our organization, especially to the customer journey and our own processes,” says Katri Harra-Salonen, Chief Digital Officer at Finnair. “Slush is a natural partner for us, with its excellent network and strong focus on Asia. Digitalisation is moving at a quick and strong pace in the travel industry, and we look forward to an increased and deeper dialogue with Slush to advance innovation within Finnair.”
As part of the collaboration, Slush is organizing two exclusive direct flights for the routes HEL–SFO–HEL and SFO–HEL–SFO. Finnair will fly Slush participants with its new Airbus A350 aircraft from San Francisco to Helsinki and back with exclusive direct flights between November 28 and December 2.
“The flight from San Francisco will bring around 300 founders, investors and speakers for the first time ever to visit Finland and experience the Nordic start-up scene at Slush. Offering direct flights has had a surprisingly large impact on how people feel about traveling to Helsinki,” says Marianne Vikkula, CEO at Slush.
The cooperation also entails a Finnair training program to boost innovation and digital competencies within Finnair, as well as a marketing cooperation. Finnair will also take part in Slush events in Singapore, Shanghai and Tokyo to network with startups in those key markets for the airline.
Slush is held each fall in Helsinki to bring together the leading actors in the global tech ecosystem to accelerate the growth of startups. In 2015, Slush had 15,000 attendees. In 2016, Slush heads to Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore. Slush is a non-profit event organized by a community of entrepreneurs, investors, students, and industry experts.
The airline, a pioneer in sustainable flying, is the European launch customer of the next-generation, eco-smart Airbus A350 XWB aircraft and is the first airline listed in the Leadership Index of the worldwide Carbon Disclosure Project. The only Nordic carrier with a 4-star Skytrax ranking, Finnair has also won the World Airline Award for Best Airline Northern Europe for the past seven years running. Finnair is a member of oneworld, the alliance of the world’s leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and convenience to frequent international travellers.