The year is 1969, the Mets have won the World Series, Man has walked on the moon and in aviation related news Finnair began service to New York. This year the airline is celebrating 50 years of service between Helsinki and New York. To commemorate the occasion Finnair hosted a birthday party in Manhattan at the residence of the Consul General of Finland. Invited guests included employees of the airline, airline partners, frequent fliers and media.
When Finnair began flying between Helsinki and New York on May 15th, 1969 it would be aboard a Douglas DC-8, an American-made four-engine mid to long range narrowbody jetliner which had 16 first class seats and 124 economy seats. The aircraft had been introduced earlier that year into the airline’s fleet. The first Transatlantic flights made stops in Copenhagen and Amsterdam not because they couldn’t fly directly across the Atlantic but to increase revenue on the route. The first class passengers were served their champagne and caviar on Finnish designer Tapio Wirkkala’s glassware, Ultima Thule, which was introduced on the New York route. This design is still being used today in Finnair Business Class.
Fifty years later the Helsinki to New York is still going strong and is one of the airline’s most popular routes. Today flights are non-stop aboard an Airbus A330 with 32 flat bed seats in business, 40 economy comfort seats and 217 economy seats. New York was also one of the first transatlantic destinations for Finnair’s newest aircraft the Airbus A350-900 which briefly served the route.