Even faster with FIRST


As the name suggests, Finnair FIRST cargo gets top priority – and now also super-speedy 120 minute transit handling at Helsinki Airport.

When a customer in Osaka needs to ship an urgent consignment of industrial spare parts to a factory in Barcelona that needed them “yesterday”, the fastest way to get them there is likely to be via Helsinki, with Finnair Cargo’s FIRST priority cargo service.

If the shipment departs from Osaka at 11.45 a.m., it arrives in Helsinki at 3.10 p.m. local time. After streamlined transfer from wide-body to narrow-body aircraft – taking no longer than two hours – it embarks on the final leg of its journey to Barcelona, reaching the customer before nightfall.

“There are two key advantages with FIRST: the speed factor and the confirmed aircraft space. When you book FIRST service, you are guaranteed the space you need on the next available or requested flight,” explains Mikko Matikka, Manager of Cargo Products and Customer Relationship Management at Finnair Cargo.

Tempo on the tarmac

“And, with our new VIA Helsinki service, we guarantee speedy transfer at Helsinki airport regardless of aircraft type. This is a service we only provided on request before, but now we can promise 120 minute handling at Helsinki Airport for all priority-labelled transit goods weighing up to 50 kg per item and 300 kg per consignment,” adds Matikka.

Fine-tuning the new VIA Helsinki service turned out to be surprisingly challenging, he reveals. “I was down on the tarmac with a stopwatch, timing exactly how long it takes for our crew to unload and reload the aircraft, and how long it takes to move shipments between terminals and aircraft. We found that we can promise a turnaround time of 120 minutes.”

The FIRST service was originally launched over two years ago, initially only for cargo departing from Helsinki. Priority handling was later extended to shipments also arriving in Helsinki. Since August last year, the service has been introduced for transit cargo shipped via Helsinki to and from scheduled Finnair destinations in Asia, Europe and the US. A Road Feeder Service and Freighter Service are available on request. 

Rush order for (almost) anything

FIRST priority handling can be booked for virtually any item, with the exception certain types of special cargo, such as human remains and valuables requiring additional security arrangements.
“Otherwise, we ship practically anything suitable for air cargo. In principle you can book almost the entire cargo space for FIRST service,” says Matikka.

A dedicated team of cargo specialists is appointed daily to deal with FIRST shipments. “Their job is to make sure FIRST cargo gets from A to B as quickly as possible.”

Feedback from customers has been encouraging so far. “We have been using Finnair Cargo’s FIRST service ever since it was launched,” says Goko Satoshi from Yusen Logistics Group.  “And we have been totally satisfied. It’s a good, speedy service, and it’s especially suitable for small cargo.”

The service is primarily used for shipping automotive spare parts and industrial components, where speed is often of the essence. Customers choosing FIRST win valuable time thanks to Helsinki Airport’s efficient logistics and its optimal geographical location, which offers the fastest and shortest connections between Europe and Asia.

Text by Silja Kudel

Published March 18, 2013

Category: Finnair Cargo