Finland's oldest passenger plane to resume flights this summer

2021-05-21 15:05:52 GMT2021-05-21 23:05:52(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

HELSINKI, May 21 (Xinhua) -- A nearly 80-year-old Douglas DC-3 airplane (registration OH-LCH) is going to lift off again from Helsinki Airport this summer, Finland's airport operator Finavia said in a press release on Friday.

The airplane is currently the oldest passenger aircraft in the country that is still in use. Its last scheduled Finnair flight was in 1967, the release said. The last time it flew from Helsinki Airport was 20 years ago.

The airplane is owned by the Airveteran company -- whose business is to safeguard the survival of historic aircraft in Finland -- and is operated by the Helsinki-based DC Association, according to Finavia.

Jani Elasmaa, Finavia's vice president, noted in the press release that Finavia "wants to support this valuable and historic activity."

"In order to enable the DC-3 to fly from Helsinki Airport in the airport's current, modern form, we have made numerous special arrangements," he said, adding that the rare opportunity occurred due to the airport being quieter than usual during the COVID-19 pandemic.

OH-LCH was manufactured by Douglas Aircraft Company in California, the United States, in 1942. It made its first commercial flight for the former Finnish airline Aero (currently Finnair) in 1948, according to the DC Association.

The plane has been used not only by Finnair but also by the Finnish Defense Forces. It has been seen at Helsinki Airport for nearly 70 years since the establishment of the airport in July 1952.

"This DC-3 is part of Finnish aviation history and has museum value. There are not many of these left in the world anymore," said Elasmaa.

The COVID-19 situation permitting, the plane's first flight this summer will be at the beginning of June.

"It is great to be able to fly from Helsinki Airport again," said Petri Petays, chairman of the Board of the DC Association.

The 19-seater plane will be transferred to Helsinki Airport on May 23 from Finavia's Vaasa Airport hangar. The aim is to fly some 40 flights this summer.

"Our vision is to keep this aircraft flying a hundred years. That is the first milestone," said Ahti Pohjonen, secretary and Board member of the DC Association.

The DC Association's objective is to promote and finance activities aimed at preserving know-how and material necessary for maintaining, restoring and operating DC-3 aircraft in Finland. It operates the DC-3 OH-LCH to arrange excursions to suitable destinations and events of interest, such as domestic and international air shows.

The association complies with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency's health safety protocol on its flights, Pohjonen said, adding that all pilots in the association are professionals. Enditem