HELSINKI, FINLAND — Finnair is expanding its capacity on popular Asian routes by modifying ten of its A350s to carry more passengers and cargo.

The Finnish airline has collaborated with Airbus to boost the maximum takeoff weight of selected aircraft in response to rising demand for flights to and from Asia. The modifications carried out in partnership with Airbus entail minor tweaks to aircraft software, as well as updates to placards and manuals.

Finnair has adapted its aircraft to keep pace with the changing demands of its two busiest intercontinental routes, Seoul and Tokyo. The closure of Russian airspace has necessitated a longer flight path for these popular destinations, with Finnair having to redirect its planes and burn more fuel in the process. The Nordic airline's modifications to these frequently used routes aim to address these challenges.

Previously, the lower maximum takeoff weight had restricted the capacity of each aircraft to carry both passengers and cargo, given the longer flight duration. However, the recent modifications have allowed for greater load capacity and, most significantly, an increased amount of fuel for the extended flights between Finland and its destinations in South Korea and Japan. The changes are expected to improve the economic performance of each flight.

Finnair previously had a maximum takeoff weight of 268 tonnes for its A350 fleet. The airline has now boosted this number for five of its aircraft to 275 tonnes and for the remaining five to 280 tonnes.

The aircraft software updates were designed to accommodate the shift in the center of gravity while preserving the aircraft's handling characteristics. The modifications took place in the first two weeks of January, and the modified A350s started operating with the increased maximum takeoff weight from Jan. 18th.