How Finnair CEO plans to crack the Chinese market

The shortest route from most of Europe to Asia goes right above Helsinki in Finland. Finnair has taken advantage of their location in Helsinki, where they collect people from 70 cities in Europe and fly them to 18 destinations in Asia.

Unlike many other European flight companies, Finnair does not just fly to major global cities. In 1988 they had their first flight between Finland and Beijing, and since then connecting Europa and Asia has been the focus of the Finnish flight company.

Besides Beijing, Finnair fly to five other Chinese cities; Shanghai, Hong Kong, Chongqing, Xi’an and Guangzhou. While Chongqing and Xi’an might not be the first cities in mind when thinking of China, Finnair CEO, Pekka Vauramo, explains that it has always been about long term strategies for Finnair.

“Chongqing and Xi’an are what Beijing used to be back in 1988 – in a development phase at this moment. But we see steady demand. The middle class is growing in those secondary cities rapidly as well, and they are the ones who really travel,” said Vauramo in an interview with Skift.

As for competition on the growing Chinese market and their increasing lust for travels, the Finnair CEO sees the Finnish company as standing strong against other flight companies.

“We’re already seeing Chinese competition. We’ve started to see Chinese airlines flying from Xi’an to Paris. Our opportunity is that with connecting flights we don’t have to sell just one destination in Europe. We can sell multiple destinations. If you have a direct flight, you’re more or less selling that one destination.”

Read the full interview with Finnair CEO, Pekka Vauramo on

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