We spoke to Mr. Sebastian Grossmann, Finnair’s regional manager for Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, about the Finland flag carrier’s drive towards sustainability and comfort.
What excited you the most about Finnair’s presence at this year’s ITB Asia? Why?
We’ve had plenty to showcase, including the nearly-completed non-Schengen lounge extension at Helsinki Airport, Wi-Fi on the European Airbus fleet, as well as new codeshare partnerships in the last quarter.
This year’s ITB theme was ‘Bold Thoughts, Bold Moves’. As such, we’re prioritizing digitalization in our operations, from improving digital touchpoints for better customer experience to loading relevant applications on smartphones for all staff to improve situational awareness.
Tell us more about Finnair’s plans to stay sustainable in light of growth.
Being in the aviation industry, fuel usage is inevitable. However, we’re making small steps towards sustainable growth by halving the use of single-use plastics in our catering operations by the end of 2022. Paper magazines on our flights have largely been replaced with digital magazines, and a recent cabin reconfiguration removed 150kg of weight from the aircraft–this translates to a fuel saving of 450 tonnes a year.
In our recently refreshed business class amenity kits, we have removed the plastic wrapping. Business-class slippers are made from recycled plastic bottles and toothbrushes from corn starch. All in all, these changes reduce the amount of plastic waste by almost 4,500 kg a year.
We also flew our first biofuel flight backed by our Push For Change initiative on 5 August, with a biofuel mix of 12 percent. Feedback from our customers has been very encouraging and the number of flights flown by Finnair with biofuel will be determined by the level of investments from customers via Push for Change.
What can travelers look forward to in Finnair’s new ATR cabins?
We are currently in the process of renewing the entire cabins of our 12 ATR aircraft by end of Q1, 2020. The cabin renewal will include new seats, new carpets, and a refreshed cabin design.
How is Finnair making long-haul travel even more comfortable for travelers?
We will be introducing a new cabin class, premium economy, for our entire long-haul fleet from 2021. Passengers can look forward to brand-new cabin interiors, increased space and comfort, along with an enhanced service offering.
To improve customer comfort in the non-Schengen area at Helsinki Airport, we are expanding and renewing our lounge offering. The new Platinum Wing opened this summer for our Platinum and Lumo frequent travelers, while the renewed Business Class lounge is set to be fully completed by Q4 2019. In total, we are adding 200 extra seats in our lounges with a total capacity of 600 seats. Both lounges will feature areas to relax and work, as well as new shower facilities and sauna access from the Platinum Wing—so that guests can refresh in a truly Finnish way.
How is luxury travel changing these days? What are some of the biggest trends you see developing in 2019/2020?
Luxury travel will turn its focus towards more unique experiences, with greater emphasis on personalization and customization. Here in Finland, seeing the Northern Lights and visiting the original Santa Claus in Rovaniemi remain some of our travelers’ top bucket list items. Other off-the-beaten-path experiences are also in demand, such as foraging for berries in the forest during the autumn time or venturing on a photo trail with a squirrel whisperer.