Blown away by the Windy City


It is the birthplace of the skyscraper, a culture hound’s dream, and the buzzing trade epicenter of the US Midwest. The latest destination in the Finnair network is Chicago, one of the world’s busiest air cargo hubs.

Voted the world’s eighth-best travel destination in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014 annual guide, the capital of the Midwest has it all, from dazzling architecture and a riotous sports scene to museums galore and a belt-busting array of great ethnics eats.

Small wonder, then, that Chicago set a new tourism record last year, pulling an estimated 50.2 million visitors. That number is set to grow – not least with Finnair set to launch a new summer service to the Windy City on June 13. 

The launch of the Chicago route is part of Finnair’s drive to strengthen its presence in North America

“With the good results of our seasonal Miami route last winter, we’re confident opening this new destination to round out our daily flights to New York,” says Pasi Nopanen, vice president of global sales at Finnair Cargo.

Hectic O’Hare

Home to a metropolitan population of 9.9 million, ‘Chicagoland’ is the third most populous city in the US and a major global hub for finance, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunications, and transportation.

“O’Hare International Airport is one the busiest airports in the world. Added to that, the market outlook in the US is cautiously positive – there’s just two good reasons to get excited about the cargo potential offered by this destination,” says Nopanen, who expects to fill all three weekly Airbus A330 flights.

Nopanen is mindful that Finnair is entering a highly competitive market, however. “We need to actively attract niches in which we can provide special value – quick, reliable connections to and from the Nordics, Baltics, and Russia, as well as Asian destinations that we can serve with same-day connections.”

Auto parts and machinery going to the Baltics, Scandinavia and Russia will be cargo mainstays, but the route will also be important for pharmaceuticals and active dairy cultures for yogurt products.

My kind of town

Nopanen is excited to be launching the Chicago service not only because of its thriving cargo business, but also because it is a “big city with a small-town feel” for which he has great personal fondness.

“The people are very friendly and take time to show you around. And with such a diverse population, there are many interesting ethnic neighborhoods. Summer is best, when there are many different fairs and festivals going on every weekend.”

For the time being, Finnair flights to Chicago are scheduled to operate until October 17, but Nopanen sees potential for continuing on a year-round basis.

“We are indeed working hard both on cargo and passenger sales to make this another year-round success story.”

Four reasons to love Chicago

1. Sports mad

“The Blackhawks, Bulls, and White Sox rule the town. Take in a Cubs game at the newly updated vintage ball park, Wrigley Field.”

2. Food frenzy

“Deep Dish Pizza is a must; my favorite spot is Lou Malnati’s. Also try hot dogs on a steamed bun with the works, including hot sport peppers. Yum!”

3. Culture crazed 

“Spend a night cruising the Blues scene... there are so many venues featuring top performers every night.”

4. What a skyline 

“Take a drive along the Lake Shore Drive through the downtown and take in Chicago’s beautiful Lake Michigan.”

- Pasi Nopanen

Text by Silja Kudel
Photo by iStock



Published April 28, 2015

Category: Local features, Finnair Cargo