News

Blue 1 goes one-class on London-Helsinki

2 Nov 2006 by business traveller

Finnish-based airline Blue 1 has scrapped business class from its daily London Stansted to Helsinki service in favour of an all-economy configuration.  

Blue 1, a subsidiary of SAS (the national airline of Denmark, Norway and Sweden) claims to be the fastest-growing carrier in Finland. It has opened a number of new routes between Helsinki and mainland Europe in recent times. Last March it began a daily service to Stansted, breaking the duopoly of British Airways and Finnair, which serve Heathrow.
 
Blue 1's president and CEO Stefan Wentjarvi said: "We simply weren't selling enough [business class] seats on the London route. Therefore we have introduced a one-class product which is in line with the product offering on most of our other European services."
 
Blue 1's daily flight is operated by a 166-seater MD-90. It departs Stansted at 1955 to reach Helsinki at 0050 the next day. The inbound service to London leaves at 1810 reaching Stansted at 1910. The schedules provide a full day's work in either city, although a night's accommodation adds to the total cost. Return tickets cost from £140 with Blue 1 providing a "pay on board" service for food and drinks.
 
When Business Traveller asked Wentjarvi whether or not business class had a future in light of budget cutbacks by Scandinavian firms, he replied: "On short flights business people primarily want convenience and a good operation. Time is essential for them. Yet on short routes we see that the increased security means that the ground time is taking as long as the flight itself. So we believe we can gain passengers by providing them with faster ground checks."
 
Besides its role of flying passengers to and from Helsinki, Blue 1 also links into the SAS and Star Alliance network. Blue 1 is a regional member of Star Alliance and passengers can through-check themselves and their baggage with other Star carriers, with bookings in the UK handled by SAS.
 
The airline carries connecting passengers from Helsinki to SAS's main hub at Copenhagen. It also operates from Helsinki and several other Finnish domestic airports to Stockholm, another key SAS base.
 
For more information go to www.flysas.com, www.blue1.com.
 
Report by Alex McWhirter

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