JAL has today confirmed that it will start flights between Tokyo and Helsinki early next year (previously reported in Business Traveller here) and said it will seek to expand its cooperation with Finnair to offer new onward connections in Europe.
The airline will begin four-times weekly flights from Tokyo Narita to Helsinki from February 25 next year. Flight JL413 is currently scheduled to leave the Japanese capital at 1145 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, arriving in Helsinki at 1505. The return leg will leave at 1725 to land back in Japan at 1015 the next day.
The service will increase to daily from April. It will use a 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft, subject to the delivery of this.
The Tokyo to Helsinki flight will be the fourth nonstop route between Tokyo and Europe that JAL operates, the others being to London, Paris and Frankfurt.
According to JAL, the ability to connect via Helsinki will shorten the overall journey time for passengers flying between Japan and several different European cities. Flying to Stockholm via Helsinki, for instance, will take 12 hours 30 minutes, compared to 16 hours if you go via Frankfurt. Travelling to Budapest via Helsinki will take 14 hours and 40 minutes, compared to 17 hours and 45 minutes via Frankfurt.
Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport is emerging as a new European hub. It offers some of the shortest travel times to Asia because flights can go over the top of the globe. Recent improvements to its facilities, such as a US$193 million terminal extension, have significantly increased its handling capacity.
Finnair, which uses Helsinki as its main hub, has been gradually expanding its flights between the European city and destinations in Asia, particularly China (see here). In May this year, it launched flights between Helsinki and the western Chinese city of Chongqing.
To read more about growing transit hubs, including Helsinki, see the October issue Business Traveller Asia-Pacific.
For more information, visit www.jal.com