Five Years Ago KLM Took Its First Boeing 787 Dreamliner


On November 14th, 2015, KLM took its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The aircraft marked a big moment for KLM as it pursued a fleet renewal and expansion plan. The Dreamliner, thus far, has been a very important aircraft for the Dutch flag carrier.

KLM Boeing 787-9
KLM took its first Boeing 787-9 in November of 2015. Photo: Boeing

KLM takes its first Dreamliner

On November 14th, 2015, in Everett, Washington, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines took its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Leased from AerCap, it was the start of KLM moving towards an all-Boeing fleet, although it was not exactly clear this would be happening at the time.

In a press release from the delivery day, KLM’s President and CEO, Pieter Elbers, stated the following:

“We are very proud to welcome our first Boeing 787 Dreamliner today. This aircraft symbolizes a new phase in the future of KLM. Investment in our customers is one of our priorities. This efficient aircraft is part of that investment. It’s testimony to the great work of 33,000 KLM employees, who are committed to giving their best for our customers every day.”

At the time, both Air France and KLM were expected to take Boeing 787 aircraft. Air France did not take its first Boeing 787 until late-2016.

KLM Boeing 787
KLM’s first 787 touching down in Amsterdam. Photo: KLM

The year before KLM took its first 787 Dreamliner, the airline retired its final tri-jet MD-11 aircraft. The Boeing 787s are much better in terms of operating economics and onboard experience for passengers.

KLM’s 787-9 Dreamliner

KLM has 13 Boeing 787-9s in its fleet. The airline flies these aircraft to many different destinations, including Bangkok, Delhi, Rio de Janeiro, Salt Lake City, and many more– including high-profile destinations like New York-JFK. All of KLM’s 787-9s are named after flowers. The first was called “Sunflower”.

KLM 787 dreamliner
KLM’s first 787 Dreamliner is named “Sunflower” Photo: KLM

There are 294 seats onboard the aircraft. The airline has 30 business class seats, called World Business, onboard. The 787s are an extraordinary part of KLM’s fleet since it is the only widebody that offers direct aisle access for all business class passengers. In 1-2-1 configuration, KLM”s hard product is a reverse herringbone configuration. Other KLM jets, like the Boeing 777s, have business class in a 2-2-2 configuration.

There are another 48 seats in extra-legroom economy. This is followed by 216 standard economy seats. These two cabins are in a 3-3-3 configuration.


KLM is taking more 787s than initially planned

Air France and KLM discovered they had a bit of a problem. The airlines recognized there were fleet inefficiencies, which can be quite costly. So, in June of last year, Air France and KLM confirmed an aircraft order swap. All of KLM’s A350 orders would go to Air France, while Air France’s outstanding 787 orders, save for the 10th jet, would head to KLM.

KLM Boeing 787 Dreamliner
KLM has 13 787-9s in its fleet. Photo: KLM

KLM’s additional aircraft were Boeing 787-10s, the largest variant of the Dreamliner. The airline will operate a total of 28 787 Dreamliners, totaling 13 of the 787-9s and 15 of the 787-10s, once deliveries are complete.

The 787s are a big part of KLM’s fleet. As highly efficient aircraft, it has made it easier for the airline to continue serving some niche destinations, like Kilimanjaro, while also being good replacements for outgoing aircraft like the Boeing 747s.

With the Airbus A330s looking like they will be heading out early, the 787s will continue to be an integral part of KLM’s iconic blue fleet.

Are you a fan of KLM’s Boeing 787s? Are you glad KLM is taking more Boeing 787s? Let us know in the comments!