Started in 1923 as Aero OY, Finnair has had to go through some very difficult times, including World War II, which was especially difficult for the airline because Helsinki and other Finnish cities became air raid targets. The company saw half of its fleet taken over by the Finnish Air Force during that time, and it is estimated that during the Winter War of 1939 and 1940, half of the airline's passengers were children being evacuated to Sweden.
Finnair, in the years after that, grew into becoming one of Europe's leading airlines, transporting 7.5 million passengers in 2001. Five MD-11, 17 of the Airbus A320 family, and 15 MD-82 and MD-83[?] aircraft now form the backbone of the company's fleet.
In 1999, Finnair joined the oneworld Alliance. The battle lines were now drawn as Finnair's Scandinavian archrival, Scandinavian Airlines System, had been a founding member of the rival Star Alliance[?] in 1997.
On November, 2002, Finnair confirmed the presence of a passenger with Pulmonary Tuberculosis on one of their flights, from Bangkok to Helsinki. The passenger was at the disease's contagious stage, and as a result, the company has urged every passenger on that flight to contact the Finnish health department for testing.