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When Qantas begins operating flights between Sydney and Asian cities, passengers may momentarily wonder if they’ve boarded the incorrect aircraft.

This is so that Finnair, a Helsinki-based airline, will own the Airbus A330 and everything on board, including the pilots and cabin employees.

Given the increase in foreign travel but the lack of available aircraft, Qantas said today that it would add two Finnair A330s to its fleet for the next six years.

In accordance with a lease agreement reached by the two Oneworld partners, these A330s “will operate selected Qantas flights between Sydney and Singapore from late October, and all flights between Sydney and Bangkok from late March 2024.”According to Qantas, the decision will free up its crew and aircraft to increase travel overseas. There is still a lot more flying to be done, including a ramp-up to Tokyo and Hong Kong, the return of Shanghai, virtually daily flights between Melbourne and Delhi, and of course the mid-June start of Sydney to New York flights.

According to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, “there is still a mismatch between supply and demand for international flying,” despite efforts made by airlines around the world to increase capacity to meet demand.

However, as we increase our own flights, we have more seats for our passengers and more opportunities for Qantas crew thanks to more of our aircraft returning to service, new 787s joining our fleet, and our partnership with Finnair.The Sydney-Singapore and Sydney-Bangkok Finnair A330 flights will be piloted and crewed for the first two and a half years of the Qantas-Finnair agreement, but passengers will still have access to Qantas’ in-flight facilities, food, and entertainment.

The Finnair A330s will continue to fly from late 2025 to late 2028, maybe for an additional three years, but with Qantas pilots and cabin staff.

Qantas travellers will also be surprised by Finnair’s A330 business class; although all seats can be converted into a lie-flat bed, the cabin configuration alternates rows of a 2-2-1 and 1-2-1 layout, so not every passenger will have direct aisle access.

This places single seats down the right side of the plane and pairs of seats in the middle, while every other seat on the left side is a “throne” with wide shelves on either side of the seat.Solo travelers frequently esteem such royal seats highly, especially if they require extra space to spread out and work throughout the journey or if they desire privacy.

However, because the flatbed is enclosed by high walls on either side and feels constrained and tiny, thrones are typically thought to be much less pleasant for sleeping.

The A330s operated by Finnair don’t have premium economy, but they do have a 40-seat “economic comfort” section, where the typical 18″-wide economy seat in a 2-4-2 configuration has a 35″ pitch as opposed to 32″ in the remainder of the economy cabin.

Although the Finnair A330s also have in-flight WiFi, it is unknown if it will be turned on and accessible to travelers on the trips to Singapore and Bangkok.

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