KLM has announced six new long-haul destinations for this coming winter across the US, Kenya, Mexico, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Thailand. While they are new for KLM itself, most were formerly served by Martinair and others. Some, like Cancun and Orlando, are big markets.
KLM intends to capture point-to-point (P2P) demand from Amsterdam to these destinations, including from tour operators, together with demand from wider Europe and beyond over its Schiphol hub. Speaking of these new destinations, KLM’s CEO, Pieter Elbers, said:
“For KLM, this represents the next, significant step towards rebuilding its network. As many as 99 destinations in Europe will be served during summer and, with this latest expansion, KLM’s intercontinental network will also be significantly strengthened for winter.”
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Six new destinations
The new destinations are as follows. Most will route via an existing or new KLM destination. This will not only save money rather than being a brand-new, stand-alone long-haul leisure route in the current climate, while also reducing risk. It may also suggest that the existing airport it is tagged with may currently be underperforming.
- Orlando: starting November 4th; four-weekly with B787-9s
- Mombasa: starting November 4th; twice-weekly with B787-9s
- Phuket: starting November 1st; four-weekly by B777-300ERs
- Cancun: starting November 2nd; three-weekly with B787-9s
- Barbados: starting November 1st; three-weekly with A330-200/300s
- Port of Spain: starting November 1st; three-weekly with A330-200/300s
KLM is targeting destinations that are recovering quicker and where demand may therefore be higher. It hopes to benefit from demand shifting from worst-hit locations or where entry is very restrictive. It is the same as Thai Airways beginning non-stop routes from Phuket to Europe, and the Lufthansa Group adding multiple new routes.
A big focus on one-stops
Only Cancun will operate non-stop in both directions. It’ll be a fully standalone service that won’t continue anywhere else. This isn’t too surprising given the high P2P demand in 2019 (see later in this article) and connecting demand.
In contrast, the other five destinations will all be linked, with some operating triangularly (Orlando, Mombasa, Barbados, Port of Spain) and one (Phuket) as a one-stop in both directions.
- Orlando: twice-weekly non-stop before continuing to Miami and back to Amsterdam; twice-weekly via Miami and then non-stop from Orlando to Amsterdam
- Mombasa: non-stop to Mombasa, before continuing to Nairobi and returning to Amsterdam
- Barbados/Port of Spain: non-stop to Barbados and then returning to Amsterdam via Port of Spain
- Phuket: operating via Kuala Lumpur in both directions
A return for most destinations
Orlando, Cancun, and Mombasa have all been served from Amsterdam in the past decade, with others served before that. KLM will see head-to-head competition from TUI fly Netherlands to Cancun, although its website shows that it is presently bookable until early November.
Orlando stands out. Martinair served it until 2011. Arkefly, later TUI fly Netherlands, served Orlando Sanford for years, typically continuing to Miami. It ended in 2020.
Delta launched Amsterdam-Orlando International non-stop in March 2018. It operated between three- and seven-weekly using B767-300ERs, and it too ceased in 2020. In 2018, it was one of 13 non-stop US cities served by the US carrier from Amsterdam, including two on a limited-time basis.
Some strong P2P demand
Some of these markets had strong point-to-point demand in 2019, although this says nothing of yields. Amsterdam-Cancun, for example, had about 87,000 round-trip P2P passengers.
- Cancun: approximately 87,000 round-trip P2P passengers; over 30,000 indirect via a hub
- Orlando: 61,000; over 30,000 indirect
- Phuket: 43,000
- Mombasa: 11,000
- Port of Spain: 6,000
- Barbados: 5,000
This winter, KLM will serve seven destinations in the Caribbean, naturally all but one in the Dutch Caribbean. Barbados and Port of Spain will therefore be exceptions, with these routes having very low P2P demand – as would be expected – and therefore more focused on connections elsewhere, especially to the UK
Will you be flying KLM this year? Let us know in the comments.