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Finnair is Finland's biggest airline and the national flag carrier. It operates from the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport and dominates both domestic and international air travel markets in Finland. Finnair is a member of the oneworld Airline alliance. Its IATA designator is AY. Finnish state owns 60% of share, and 20% are foreign-owned.

Finnair Airbus A321 in a superseded

Finnair Airbus A320 in the latest (as of 2003) livery

Started in 1923 as Aero OY, Finnair has had to go through some very difficult times, including World War II, which was especially difficult for the airline because Helsinki and other Finnish cities became air raid targets. The company saw half of its fleet taken over by the Finnish Air Force during that time, and it is estimated that during the Winter War of 1939 and 1940, half of the airline's passengers were children being evacuated to Sweden.

Finnair, in the years after that, grew into one of Europe's leading airlines, transporting 7.5 million passengers in 2001. Five MD-11, 17 of the Airbus A320 family, and 15 MD-82 and MD-83 aircraft now form the backbone of the company's fleet.


In 1953, Finnair changed its name from Aero OY to its current name, although the brand name, Aero OY, was revived in 1982 as a domestic subsidiary.

In 1961, Finnair joined the jet age by adding a Caravelle aeroplane to its fleet. In 1970, it took possession of its first American jet, a Douglas DC-8.

In 1961 and 1963, Finnair experienced the company's only fatal accidents so far:

In 1999, Finnair joined the oneworld Alliance. The battle lines were now drawn as Finnair's Scandinavian arch rival, Scandinavian Airlines System, had been a founding member of the rival Star Alliance in 1997.

In 2001, Finnair recycled the Aero name again by founding Aero Airlines, a start-up airline located in Tallinn, Estonia.