Flight balance calculations | Finnair
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Finnair collects data from volunteers at Helsinki Airport on the average weight of passengers and carry-on baggage for flight balance calculations

Our customers departing from Helsinki Airport in May can voluntarily participate in a survey, in which we’ll collect data on the average weight of customers and their carry-on baggage. The data, collated at our home hub, will be used for future aircraft balance calculations. The first part of the survey was conducted in February, when we had 1,500 volunteers participating.

We will collect data for the survey by weighing volunteering customers and their carry-on baggage at the departure gate during May. The weighing is voluntary and anonymous, and the data will only be used to optimise Finnair’s current aircraft balance calculations. 

Each aircraft has a set maximum weight to ensure a safe take-off, and this weight cannot be exceeded. The weight of the aircraft includes the weight of the aircraft itself and the weight of fuel, checked baggage and cargo, onboard catering, water tanks, and of course customers. 

While airlines know the weight of all other aspects, the weight of customers and their carry-on baggage is calculated using average weights confirmed by the Civil Aviation Authority. The alternative option is for airlines to either use their own measurements and confirmation of their results by the authority, or use standard weights defined by the European Aviation Safety Authority EASA. 

Since 2018, we have used average weights determined based on our own measurements, and the authorities require these figures to be updated every five years. With the previous measurements having been taken in 2017 and 2018, it’s now time to collect updated data. 

“We use the weighing data for the average calculations required for the safe operation of flights, and the collected data is not linked in any way to the customer's personal data,” tells Satu Munnukka, Head of Ground Processes at Finnair.

“We record the total weight and background information of the customer and their carry-on baggage, but we do not ask for the name or booking number, for example. Only the customer service agent working at the measuring point can see the total weight, so you can participate in the study with peace of mind.” 

The average weights calculated based on the measurements will be delivered to Traficom – The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency – between July and September 2024, and after confirming the weights, we’ll use them for aircraft balance and loading calculations between 2025–2030. 

The weighment area will rotate around a select number of our flights’ departure gates in Helsinki Airport. The scheme will cover selected European flights within Helsinki Airport’s Schengen area and a number of long-haul flights departing from the non-Schengen side. 

“We weigh volunteer customers together with their carry-on baggage. In the measurement, we do not ask for personal data, but the total weight of the customer and carry-on baggage, the customer’s age, gender and travel class are recorded in the database. No information is collected that would allow participants to be identified,” Munnukka says. 

“In the first part of the measurements in February, we had 1,500 volunteers who gladly participated in the weighing. We hope to have a good sample of volunteers, both business and leisure travellers, also this time, so that we can get the most accurate information possible for important balance calculations,” Munnukka continues.

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