Tibet Airlines’ Unusual Flight To Helsinki Is Now On Sale

Filed Under: Other Airlines

We’re seeing a couple of cool new routes to Helsinki this year from China. Juneyao Airlines is commencing longhaul operations with their 787-9, as they launch a daily Shanghai to Helsinki route as of June 28, 2019. Alrighty then…

However, that’s no doubt the less surprising of the two new routes Helsinki is getting this year. In January I wrote about how Tibet Airlines intends to launch flights to Helsinki this year.

I questioned whether or not that would actually happen, given that a couple of Chinese airlines had previously announced service to Helsinki, but didn’t follow through on it.

Equally puzzling is that Tibet Airlines planned to launch their Helsinki flight out of Jinan. The nonstop flight isn’t possible out of Lhasa due to the altitude, but even so, Jinan doesn’t exactly seem like it’s a logical stopover point. Flying from Lhasa to Jinan to Helsinki represents a routing that’s 57% longer than the direct air distance.

Anyway, color me surprised, because within the past few days Tibet Airlines has put this new flight on sale.

Tibet Airlines will begin flying between Jinan and Helsinki as of April 8, 2019 (yet, they started selling the flight with just a few weeks notice). The flight will operate with the following schedule:

TV6001 Jinan to Helsinki departing 3:30PM arriving 8:30PM
TV6002 Helsinki to Jinan departing 10:30PM arriving 12:30PM (+1 day)

The flight will initially operate once weekly, on Mondays, and then as of May 9, 2019, will operate twice weekly, with an additional frequency on Thursdays.

The airline will be using an Airbus A330 for the route. Tibet Airlines has just 12 business class seats on their A330s, in a 2-2-2 configuration.

Now, here’s the fun part. The flight is for sale and inventory is loaded, but the flight is actually really hard to book, and outrageously expensive. Tibet Airlines doesn’t have a US website, and even with Google Translate I can’t figure out how to use their website. The only online travel agency I can find that allows these flights to be booked is trip.com.

The catch is that fares are outrageous. It seems their cheapest one-way fares in business class are $3,200+, and cheapest roundtrip fares in business class are $4,600+.

I have to imagine they have lower fares than that, especially given the short notice on which they’re launching the flight. But that’s the best I can find.

This Helsinki to Jinan flight is only the second most interesting flight that Jinan may be getting this year. Even more interesting is that Eastern plans to launch flights from New York to Anchorage to Jinan.

Can anyone find any halfway decent fares on Tibet Airlines’ new flight between Jinan and Helsinki?

  1. I think the more interesting angle is actually why? Why would anyone from Tibet want to fly to Helsinki? How could they afford it? Does this airline have interline agreements with Finnair to allow through traffic?

  2. @ RingRunner — Good catch. Updated the post to reflect that. My gosh, these are some crazy fares, though.

  3. Playing around their (rather buggy) website shows TNA-HEL Econ fares $320 one way / $575 round trip, Biz fares $4700 one way / $6700 round trip (ouch!)

  4. Googling Jinan, it’s one of those Chinese megacities (8.7 million!) no one has ever heard of… And with an airport that has no directs to Europe. If TV can partner with tour operators, I’m sure they can fill two A330s a week with Chinese tourists snapping a quick picture at Senate Square (no, wait, snapping 100 quick pictures) before connecting to continental Europe.

    My guess is a carefully planned itinerary where HEL is the first stop and the last stop is one that has an evening flight landing at HEL after 8 pm. There are at least nine European cities from which there are such connections (not limited to AY flights).

    Thus, there’s no real need for them to sell individual tickets.

  5. Finland is full of Chinese tourists, especially in the winter when they come for the skiing. Makes sense that Chinese airlines would operate direct flights to Helsinki.

  6. So the red ChiComs not only militarily invaded Tibet in 1949 and have been unlawfully and brutally occupying Tibet since then , they are now using Tibet as one of their airline’s name? I wouldn’t fly in that airline . They have killers 1.2 million Tibetans . When will the world be honest? Why just North Korea or Syria? Sadly it is all power!

  7. I mean, you can always go with Economy just for the uniqueness of this flight, right? Its business class will probably be unmemorable, and its Economy can’t be the worst. Plus, it’s not like the service will be the exciting part of the experience, you’ll be excited whichever class you fly in.

  8. $4000 for an 8 hour flight from China to Finland on a 2-2-2 Business Class Configuration? Hell Nah!

  9. Firstly, this flight really has nothing to do with LXA-HEL-LXA market but TNA-HEL-TNA which it intends to serve.

    Skyscanner.com has fares around $542 rt for HEL-TNA-HEL in Y, which seems rather reasonable to me. On the other hand the same flights in J seems to be $4909, which seems extremely steep.

  10. The flight will be filled with Chinese tourists on a package tour. Only 2 rows of business class — is that the lowest number of business class seats on any airline’s long haul flight (other than 0 of course)?

  11. the business class is indeed extremely expensive. However, the economy ticket is OK, less than most other airlines with connection. ( 5700 Yuan which is less than $1000 for 4/15/ to 4/22 round trip ). By the way, I used ctrip.com

  12. If Debit learns there’s an airport coded ‘TNA’ he’s going to book it in business, price be damned!

  13. Great, more planes full of Chinese tour groups who turn a place into a noisy, chaotic mess. No thanks.

  14. @Jed – the air is thinner at altitude, lowering engine performance. An aircraft must therefore carry less load (often fuel) to be able to takeoff if the airport and runway were not designed to adequate length. Therefore, a refuelling stopover is needed on long journeys.

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