KLM Adds Riyadh To Route Network While Rejigging Muscat Service

**Update: 07/22/2020 @ 15:22 PM UTC – KLM has confirmed that it does have fifth freedom rights on the Abu Dhabi to Muscat route, details below**

KLM is adding Riyadh to its route map from 28th September. The new route will operate with a stop in Dammam (an existing KLM destination) on the return leg. KLM is also changing up its Muscat service, adding a stop in Abu Dhabi on its way from Amsterdam. The changes increase KLM’s total Middle East destinations to seven, while maintaining the same number of flights. So, what are KLM’s plans?

KLM A330
KLM will operate an A330-200 on the new AMS-RUH-DMM-AMS route. Photo: KLM

New Riyadh service

While most airlines are looking to reduce their current network, KLM is going ahead and adding destinations. However, it is doing so not by adding new flights, but rather adding stops on existing services. This allows the airline to carry more passengers without having to fly another flight, bringing in more, much-needed revenue.

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KLM will fly from Amsterdam to Riyadh four times a week, on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. On the return leg from Riyadh, the plane will stop at Dammam for a quick 1 hour 20 minutes to onboard passengers, before continuing to Amsterdam. The new route is AMS-RUH-DMM-AMS.

KLM A330-300
KLM is adding new routes and merging others in a bid to carry more passengers and generate revenue. Photo: KLM

Previously, KLM’s flight from Damman also flew to Muscat on the return leg (AMS-DMM-MCT-DMM-AMS). This is also one of the airline’s short fifth freedom flights in the Middle East. However, the new route likely means that this fifth freedom route is gone. But fear not, for there might be another soon.

Change to Muscat flight and new fifth freedom

KLM is also adjusting its Muscat service, merging it with a flight to Abu Dhabi. The new route will operate three times a week, on Monday, Thursdays, and Saturdays, using a 787-9. Starting August 3rd the new routing is AMS-AUH-MCT-AUH-AMS.

KLM 787
KLM will operate its flight to Muscat with a stop in Abu Dhabi, instead of Dammam as it did previously. Photo: KLM

KLM has confirmed that it does have fifth freedom rights between Abu Dhabi and Muscat. The route will start operating on the 3rd of August, setting up another KLM fifth freedom Middle East route.

Resuming flights

KLM is slowly reopening its Middle East network, as demand begins to pick up and travel restrictions are eased globally. The airline has had a rough year, requiring billions in aid and seeing passenger numbers drastically fall. However, it seems the worst is now behind and the airline can look to cautiously rebuild its network, although it will likely be years until it reaches previous flight capacity once again.

KLM grounding
KLM has had a tough year, needing billions in funding to remain afloat. Photo: Getty Images

KLM is also restarting its Amsterdam-Kuwait-Bahrain flights from 29th September, a popular fifth freedom route. By the end of September, KLM would have expanded its Middle East destinations to seven and will be operating on all its previous routes. While flights might be lesser, it is a positive sign to see planes returning to the sky.

What do you think about KLM’s new plans? Let us know in the comments below.