KLM is looking to launch a new holiday package arm, to be named ‘KLM Holidays’. The decision comes as the carrier looks towards a tourism revival in the coming months following vaccinations. Let’s find out more about KLM’s latest plans.
According to a report from Reuters, KLM has bought a significant share in Airtrade, a Dutch airline ticket consolidation and tourism package specialist. The acquisition will allow KLM to quickly expand its travel package offerings without building more of its own infrastructure. Airtrade is the leading airline consolidator in the Benelux Union (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg).
The new arm will be known as “KLM Holidays” when it launches and will boost KLM’s existing ‘Flight & Hotel’ deal offerings. In a statement, KLM Netherlands director Harm Kreulen laid out a high bar for the new company, saying, “We want to be among the top three tour operators for flight holidays.”
It should be noted that KLM already owns Transavia Airlines, and its holiday arm, which caters to a significant share of Dutch holiday traffic. The expansion means the KLM is now looking to take on some of the biggest holiday flight operators in Europe and globally.
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Investing in a holiday package company during the pandemic might seem odd considering KLM is losing hundreds of millions. However, the move signals that KLM expects holiday traffic to come roaring back as vaccines take effect. And when it does, the Dutch carrier wants to be at the center of the aviation recovery.
However, it still remains unclear when international travel can safely reopen, both within Europe and outside. While vaccinations are now available across the continent, governments have struggled to reach population targets. For now, vaccines remain in too short a supply for airlines to formally plot a recovery plan.
Many airlines are holding their breath for travel to resume by the lucrative summer season. If travel were to reopen by summer, airlines could see a bump in revenues quickly. However, as Europe remains in lockdown, it’s difficult to predict when travel will be safe again.
Not the only one
KLM is entering a particularly crowded space in the holiday flight market. Carriers like TUI, Jet2, Condor, and others have years of presence in this market. Additionally, KLM will also compete with other mainline operators like British Airways Holidays. This would explain why KLM has opted to acquire Airtrade and get a head start with its rollout.
The coming months will tell us more about whether airlines can expect a major recovery in 2021 or will the pandemic continue to impact business.
What do you think about KLM’s decision to expand its holiday arm? Will traffic improve this year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!