News / Finnair is now weighing passengers to update weight & balance calculations
The identity of the volunteers remains anonymous
Finnair is the latest carrier to announce that it will be weighing passengers ahead of their travels between now and May. The flag carrier of Finland highlights that this move will be used for aircraft balance calculations.
All passengers weighed will be volunteers, and no personal data will be collected. It’s also not the first time the airline has launched such an initiative, with several volunteers traveling for both business and leisure coming forward to participate five years ago.
In practice, participants are weighed with their hand luggage for the figure to be recorded. They are also asked about their travel class, age, and gender. Still, no other information is documented, and the identity of the volunteers remains anonymous.
All in all, the goal is to have up-to-date information for the airline’s services. Finnair head of ground processes Satu Munnukka notes that the company utilizes the weighing data “for the average calculations required for the safe operation of flight.”
This move is part of an industry-wide system that uses data to help calculate requirements. Operators need to reassess average passenger weights to amend their onboard weight distribution. They also need to ensure balanced stability during their services and conclude on the amount of fuel required. It is the same thinking behind weighing baggage in the hold.
Finnair isn't the only airline that sees the benefit of weighing passengers. South Korea's Asiana has been weighing passengers recently. In late 2023, 5,000 domestic passengers were weighed. Last month, the airline also weighed international customers and their carry-ons traveling through Seoul Gimpo Airport.
There are also specific requirements for certain routes. Notably, Qantas weighs passengers flying through Lord Howe Island due to the airport's short runway, as heavier planes need longer runways to generate lift. Weighing passengers is supported by some authorities. For instance, the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority holds a 'weight week' every five years to understand the average weight of adult fliers to calculate takeoff weights.
So, what might seem like an inappropriate campaign for some at first glance is actually an integral initiative that will help optimize safe flight operations. Finnair will be keen to gather as much data as possible ahead of what’s set to be a busy year for the Helsinki-based airline.