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Finnair's "Silver Bird" Retro Aircraft Takes Flight

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Celebration of Finnair's 85th Anniversary

NEW YORK - July 28, 2008 - Finnair's retro aircraft, named Silver Bird, will make its maiden flight from Helsinki to Copenhagen on Wednesday, July 30, 2008. A Finnair Airbus A319 has been painted in the livery of Finnair's 1950s Convair in honor of the airline's 85th anniversary. The aircraft's crew will also be dressed in 1950s uniforms.

"Finnair is the sixth oldest operating airline in the world, a fact of which we are very proud," says Finnair Deputy CEO Henrik Arle. "From the days of the Convairs, Finnair has moved on to operating an all-jet fleet and our annual passenger numbers are 90-fold compared to what they were in the 1950s. But some things have remained unchanged: the Convair was the pinnacle of aircraft engineering at the time, just like Finnair's modern, young and eco-efficient Airbus fleet which we operate in Europe today."

85-year-old Finnair was founded by Consul Bruno Lucander under the name Aero on November 1, 1923. Under the leadership of CEO Leonard Grandell in the 1950s, Finnair was the first airline in Europe to acquire Convairs - from which the Silver Bird gets its design. The Silver Bird's fuselage is a shining metal color, with blue stripes on its sides plus the words "Finnish Airlines." The retro theme is also apparent inside the cabin, both in the food service and with regard to its entertainment options. The aircraft will operate in the retro livery for years to come as repainting the aircraft earlier would unnecessarily burden the environment.

A total of some 60 retro flights served by the 'retro crew' will be operated around Europe until the end of 2008. Finnair's website unveiled its retro look this week, and the site includes retro pages so visitors can take a trip down aviation's memory lane as well as check out the flight schedule of the Silver Bird. The Silver Bird will also operate normal scheduled flights in Europe and within Finland with a normal crew.
The Convair was the first aircraft with a pressurized cabin and nose landing gear, factors that greatly contributed to passenger comfort. Furthermore, the original Convair cabins had leather "armchairs" in two rows, tasty meals were eaten at tables for the first time and the airline even offered passengers the use of an electric Philishave razor.

The first Convair arrived in Helsinki on February 14, 1953. Exactly two months later it made its maiden voyage from Helsinki via Copenhagen to Dusseldorf, and the Silver Bird will also make its first flight to Copenhagen. Aero started using Finnair as a marketing name for the first time in 1953. The name was officially changed in 1968.

The last Convair was donated to the Finnish Aviation Museum after 27 years of service in November 1980. The aircraft remains one of the museum's main attractions.

About Finnair

Finnair was established in 1923, and its major shareholder is the Finnish government with a 55.8 % holding. From North America, Finnair offers non-stop flights from New York and seasonal service from Boston and Toronto to Helsinki, Finland, connecting with its global network including more than 50 international destinations. In addition to passenger and cargo traffic, the Finnair Group operations cover technical and ground handling operations, catering, travel agencies as well as travel information and reservation services. The Group's current number of employees is approximately 9,500, while the fleet comprises 63 aircraft. During 2007, Finnair carried a total of 8,653,200 passengers. Finnair is a member of oneworld, the leading global airline alliance.


Additional information:
Jarkko Konttinen, Head of Global Marketing Communications, tel. +358 40 502 5096
Finnair Media Desk tel. +358 9 818 4020 and comms@finnair.com
Pictures of Silver Bird: www.finnair.com/gallery
Finnair's retro site: www.finnair.com/retro

Credits for the attached pictures is Finnair / Kari Kuukka 

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