In 1923, Finnair was founded under the name of “Aero O/Y” (meaning “Aero Company”) by Bruno Lucander. By the end of the year, this new airline was registered as a trademark.
In late March 1924, its first flight took off from Helsinki and landed in Tallinn, Estonia, using Junkers F.13 aircraft equipped with floats.
In 1936, seaplanes are phased out, as first aerodromes in Finland are being built.
Finnair’s fleet was affected by the Second World War, mainly because a significant part of the fleet was requisitioned by the Finnish Air Force with the main purpose of evacuating children to Sweden.
After the war, the Finnish government acquires a majority stake in the company, re-launching services to Europe on the first day of November 1947.
Finnair’s first step towards branding was made in 1953, when the airline changed its name from Aero Ltd. and began to be known as Finnair.
Finnair joins the jet age in 1961, adding Caravelle jets to its fleet, later exchanged for Super Caravelles.
The Douglas DC-8 was introduced by Finnair in 1969, and the first transatlantic service to New York was inaugurated on the 15th of May of that year.
During the ‘60s, Finnair consolidated its headquarters In Helsinki, this remaining their head office until today.
Two McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 aircraft were ordered and received in 1975, being the first wide-body aircraft to join the Finnair fleet. The first one of these two new aircraft arrived on February 4th, and started serving the Helsinki – Las Palmas route on the 14th of February 1975.
In 1983, using a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30ER aircraft, Finnair began its non-stop flights from Western Europe to Japan, becoming the first carrier to fly uninterruptedly from Helsinki to Tokyo.
In 1988, Finnair launches its Helsinki-Beijing route, becoming the first Western European carrier to fly non-stop to China.
The first McDonnell Douglas MD-11 joined the fleet in December 1990, 3 years after being ordered by Finnair as a launch customer. MD-11’s first flight went from Helsinki to Tenerife (in the Canary Islands) on the 20th of December 1990.
In 1997, Finnair acquired Kar-Air and Finnaviation, integrating them into its operations.
Finnair joins the Oneworld alliance in 1999.
Under the old “Aero” name, Finnair establishes Aero Airlines in 2001, a new carrier with its headquarters in Tallinn, Estonia.
In 2003, Finnair acquires FlyNordic, a Swedish low-cost airline, expanding its coverage throughout Scandinavia.
By the end of 2006, Finnair had transported 8.8 million passengers on 15 domestic destinations, as well as 55 international locations.
In March 2007, Finnair had almost 9.500 employees, being the fifth oldest airline in the world with uninterrupted existence.
Septembers 2011 marks the date when Finnair and Swissport initiated a major negotiation regarding transferring Finnair’s cargo baggage services to Swissport, as well as receiving maintenance for their fleet.
In 2013, Finnair took delivery of its first of five Sharklet-fitted extended-range A321 aircraft on order, becoming the launch customer for the A321 equipped with Sharklets, which will eventually replace the existing fleet of 757s, making Finnair an all Airbus operator.
In October 2015, Finnair took delivery of the first of its 19 A350 XWBs on order, thus becoming the first European operator and the third worldwide of the all-new Extra Wide Body airliner. The 297 seats are configured in a three-class layout, with 46 seats in Business Class, 43 seats in Economy Comfort, and 208 seats in Economy.
In December 2015, Finnair announced its plans to improve the space efficiency of its Airbus narrow-body fleet. The cabin reconfiguration is estimated to take two weeks per aircraft during 2017. The reconfiguration adds 6 to 13 seats depending on the aircraft type. Finnair also has planned to increase the number of its narrow-body fleet.
In winter 2016, Finnair announced the long-term lease of a total of six A321 aircraft from the first half of 2017 onwards, as part of Finnair’s fleet renewal.
By February 2017, all Airbus A340 aircraft were withdrawn from the fleet, replacing them with 11 Airbus A350 aircraft.
In 2018, Finnair, named Northern Europe’s Best Airline by Skytrax for the 9th consecutive year, had the third year of rapid growth with a 14.8% increase in capacity and an 11.6% increase in the number of passengers that resulted in a growth of 10.4% in revenue. The airline also introduced a new Nordic Business Class concept and the Seat&Meal option that helps passengers to tailor their journey as they wish.
In 2019, Finnair continued to invest in customer experience: the renewal of its ATR aircraft cabins, opened a new Platinum Wing lounge in Helsinki-Vantaa airport, completed the installation of wireless internet access for the Airbus narrow-body aircraft.
In August 2019, Finnair operated its first “Push for change” biofuel flight from San Francisco to Helsinki. The Push for Change service is available from January, offering passengers the possibility of offsetting the CO2 emissions of their flights through an emissions reduction project and/or through the support of the use of biofuel on Finnair flights.
The first serious incident involving Finnair took place in 1927, when a Junkers F.13 with 3 people on board disappeared and was never found, while the last two deadly incidents happened in 1961 and 1963, when two DC-3 planes crashed. In the first incident, 25 people perished, making it the worst accident in the Finnish aviation history so far, while the second one caused 22 casualties. Since then, no fatal or hull-loss incidents involving Finnair aircraft took place, making the airline one of the safest in the world.