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The airport is ready for the Airbus A350 XWB

Article published
19.8.2015 at 06:00
Fire trucks spraying water on an airplane.
Finnair is the first European airline to introduce a new type of aircraft this autumn: the Airbus A350 XWB. All is ready at Helsinki Airport for the new arrival.

Finnair's first Airbus A350 XWB will operate on Far East routes and is scheduled to fly from Helsinki to Shanghai on 25 October. Another two A350s will arrive a little later, headed to Beijing and Bangkok from Helsinki.

During the first few months of 2016, two more A350s are to complete the group and will start to fly to Hong Kong and Singapore from Helsinki.

In total, Finnair has ordered 19 Airbus A350 XWB aeroplanes, capable of flying nearly 300 passengers in an energy-friendly way.

Helsinki Airport has prepared well for the arrival of this new type of aircraft.

Safety first

'Whenever we get a new type of aircraft, we start by investigating how suitable the aircraft stands and boarding bridges are for them', says Vice President Heini Noronen-Juhola from Finavia.

She explains that each aeroplane must be able to park as specified by safety regulations. For example, the minimum distance from the aeroplane engine to the passenger boarding bridge has been defined accurately.

The arrival of the Airbus A350 XWBs only requires Helsinki Airport to carry out some minor renovations on two of the oldest boarding bridges. They will be in good working order well before the end of summer.

The world's largest passenger aeroplane, the Airbus A380, has already visited the airport a couple of times in recent years.

Long-term approach pays off

Noronen-Juhola believes Helsinki Airport can thank their long-term approach in developing the airport for only needing a small-scale overhaul project at this point.

'As we never let our premises become run down but keep it all in tip-top condition, new types of aircraft don't cause big problems or major work. All operations, Including our rescue capacity, are always up to date', she continues.

Traditional welcome

When Finnair's Airbus A350 XWB lands at Helsinki Airport for the first time, it will be received in style, observing the traditional ceremonies. Airport fire engine water cannons will form a high arch over the aeroplane once it hits the taxiway.  

This is a traditional greeting in aviation, aptly referred to as a Water Salute. In addition to an airline or aircraft's first landing at an airport, the salute is also used on occasions such as honouring a pilot's retirement.

People & Aviation