Major UK Carrier? KLM Flies To 17 Different British Airports

KLM serves 17 UK airports from Amsterdam – from Aberdeen to Teesside – with 42 departures each day in mid-July. Some 2.9 million people connected over Amsterdam with both KLM and fellow SkyTeam partners. Where did they go?

KLM B737
KLM will serve 17 airports across the UK this year. Photo: Getty Images

KLM and KLM Cityhopper together serve 17 UK destinations. In mid-July, 295 weekly departures are bookable from Schiphol to the UK, its website shows and as shown below:

  1. Heathrow: 45 weekly departures
  2. Manchester: 28
  3. Edinburgh: 22
  4. Aberdeen: 21
  5. Birmingham: 21
  6. Bristol: 21
  7. Glasgow: 21
  8. Newcastle: 21
  9. London City: 18
  10. Cardiff: 14
  11. Leeds Bradford: 14
  12. Norwich: 14
  13. Belfast City: 7
  14. Humberside: 7
  15. Inverness: 7
  16. Southampton: 7
  17. Teesside: 7
KLM UK routes
In normal times, KLM has an average of four daily flights to each of its UK airports. Image: GCMap.

Regionally speaking

KLM and its regional partner will have about 42 departures each day and an average of twice daily per route. In normal times, this would be around four-daily, analyzing OAG data confirms, aided by the significant use of Embraers, especially the 190. This is no surprise as such capacity aircraft are often vital to ensure or to enable:

  • Higher frequencies
  • Feeding a large number of waves for connections
  • Increasing and managing yields (average fares)
  • Higher load factors

KLM’s use of regional jets to/from the UK has slowly increased over the years. This is partly from the reintroduction of London City in 2017, which would normally have up to nine daily departures during the week but which is now down to have three in July. And, before coronavirus struck, nearly four in ten Heathrow flights were by Embraers. Quite a change from when KLM used scheduled widebodies on the route!

KLM CityHopper Embraer
KLM Cityhopper’s Embraers play an important role in the UK. Photo: Getty Images

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To Amsterdam and beyond

In 2019, KLM had an estimated 2.4 million round-trip point-to-point passengers (those going to Amsterdam or the UK only), while 2.7 million connected over Amsterdam. This is based on booking data obtained via OAG Traffic Analyzer.

This rose to approximately 2.9 million if other SkyTeam members are included. This was especially important to the US and beyond with Delta Air Lines, to China with China Southern, and to Africa with Kenya Airways.

KLM B787-9
KLM’s point-to-point and connecting passengers were fairly equal. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

From Humberside to London City

Humberside, in Lincolnshire, had KLM’s lowest proportion of point-to-point passengers, at approximately 33% against two-thirds connecting. In contrast, London City had one of the highest proportions of local passengers, at around 80%. However, over 115,000 still connected over Amsterdam, especially to Oslo, Lagos, Basel, Brussels, and Stockholm.

The balance between point-to-point and connecting demand will always vary by airport. Photo: Getty Images

Where in the world?

If KLM and SkyTeam partners are considered, the UK via Amsterdam to across Western Europe was by far the most important by size. Over 1.6 million connected there, with Germany, Norway, and Italy the largest European countries. Over 280,000 traveled to/from Germany, equivalent to more than 800 people a day spread out over all the airports served across the UK. And a quarter-of-a-million connected to Central and Eastern Europe, especially Poland.

KLM and SkyTeam's top countries to/from the UKEstimated passengers in 2019KLM and SkyTeam's top airport-pairsEstimated passengers in 2019
Germany281,251Heathrow - Lagos17,744
USA203,945Teesside - Alicante13,238
Norway184,577Heathrow - Accra12,804
Italy154,000Heathrow - Tokyo Narita12,633
China148,809Edinburgh - Billund11,521
Denmark147,089Heathrow - Nairobi11,154
France143,838Birmingham - Billund11,064
Spain132,239London City - Oslo10,736
Switzerland105,955Heathrow - Osaka9,518
Sweden102,262Birmingham - Bologna9,400

Northeast Asia and North America

After Europe, around 300,000 connected over Schiphol to/from Northeast Asia and over 250,000 to North America. The US was, naturally, very important, with this the second-largest country market from the UK for KLM and SkyTeam. Over 100,000 were to/from Central and West Africa, with Lagos, Nigeria, unsurprisingly especially important. In fact, Heathrow to Lagos was the number-one origin-and-destination (O&D), with getting on for 30,000 passengers if London City is included.

What UK airport do you think could be next for KLM? Comment below!