Dutch flag-carrier KLM is “gradually and carefully” restarting its network. Come August, the airline plans to operate flights to around 95% of its European destinations.
KLM celebrated its centenary last year in October, making it the oldest commercial airline still operating with its original name. The spring of COVID-19 may not have been the ideal way to start a new century of existence. However, the airline seems to be out of the darkest woods of the pandemic, at least if network rebuilding is anything to go by.
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11,000 European flights in August
The easily recognizable blue and white KLM livery has once more become a frequent sight in the skies above Amsterdam. No wonder, as the SkyTeam member has increased flights from a virtual standstill a couple of months ago to once more operating 80% of its European network in July. August will see that figure increase further, to 95%.
Back in April, the airline operated a mere 1,116 flights within Europe and 612 intercontinental. According to a statement seen by Simple Flying, the forecast for July is 5,000 European flights, to be increased by over 100% to 11,000 in August. The corresponding numbers for intercontinental flights are 1,900 and 2,100, respectively.
This can be compared to the same time last year, where KLM operated about 22,000 flights per month. Furthermore, the load-factor rate lags far behind that of 2019, the airline said. However, it is opting to reinstitute as much as possible of its network first and increase frequency later.
“KLM has opted to restart as many destinations as possible first in order to offer customers a wide choice and then to increase frequencies and capacity,” the carrier said in the statement.
Intercontinental up to 80%
KLM is also slowly bringing back its intercontinental network. In July, the plan is to operate flights to 75% of destinations beyond Europe. In August, the airline intends to increase the number to 80%.
However, it should be noted that about half of KLM’s extra-European flights to destinations such as Bogota, Bombay, Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg, Houston, Beijing, and several others, are thus far only transporting cargo. When international travel restrictions are relaxed, the airline intends to carry passengers on these routes as well.
The logistical effort to unpark aircraft that has been sitting idle at Schiphol for the past few months is underway. In a recent video posted to its Twitter account, KLM demonstrated part of what the operations look like. You can even glimpse some of the carriers 747s all lined up and awaiting retirement.
With the majority of our fleet currently parked at @Schiphol Airport, interns Pim & Wouter take you behind the scenes to show you what it's like to choreograph this parking puzzle. ✈️ #KLM pic.twitter.com/HUGzCBaQru
— KLM (@KLM) June 5, 2020
While KLM is extensively reinstating its network, the low frequency of departures and load-factor is unfortunately still an issue for profitability, which means that employees might not be better off than they were a little while ago.
There is yet to be any announcement as to how many staff have accepted the voluntary resignation scheme introduced by the airline at the beginning of June.
Will you be flying with KLM soon? Which destinations would you like to see return first? Let us know in the comments.