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Photos: Beijing Capital Airport Welcomes First A350 Flight
China Aviation Daily | Jan. 07, 2016

First next-generation Airbus A350 XWB aircraft, Registration OHLWA, touched down at Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) on Thursday morning, marking Finnair (AY)'s inaugural A350 flight on Helsinki-Beijing route.

The inaugural flight AY51 took off from Helsinki Vantaa Airport (HEL) at 7:56 p.m. and arrived at PEK at 9:23 a.m. the next day, marking Beijing Finnair's third A350 destination in Asia following Shanghai and Bangkok.

Before departure to Beijing, the flag carrier held a special ceremony at Helsinki airport to celebrate the inaugural flight with Chinese traditional Lion dance.

As Finnair was the first Western European airline to fly to China in 1988, it is also the world's first and only airline to fly the A350 XWB to China, as Shanghai being selected its first A350 long-haul destination in November 2015.

Finnair intends to double its Asian traffic by 2020 from the 2010 baseline, and the A350 fleet investment is the backbone of this strategy. Besides Shanghai, Beijing and Bangkok, Finnair is scheduled to start flying its A350 to Hong Kong and Singapore in the following months

Finnair took delivery of its first next-generation A350 XWB aircraft in October 7, 2015, becoming the first European airline to fly the A350 XWB. The A350 XWB aircraft is configured with 297 seats, including 46 business seats, 208 economy seats and 43 economy comfort seats in the front of the economy class cabin.

The company has ordered a total of 19 A350's, making it the biggest investment in Finnair's history. The first four aircraft are expected to arrive in the fleet in 2015, with another seven being delivered in 2016 and 2017. The complete order will be fulfilled by 2023.

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