KLM To Introduce Voluntary Resignation Scheme From June 1st


KLM has announced that it will introduce a Voluntary Resignation Scheme from next month. The airline is encouraging employees to take advantage of this proposal to avoid forced redundancies in the future. On Wednesday, the carrier said it would rather see its staff leave willingly than make painful decisions about their future.

KLM front view
KLM will ask its staff to voluntarily step down from 1st June. Photo: Getty Images

KLM makes an offer for employees to leave the airline

On Wednesday (20th May), Dutch airline KLM announced that it would be asking employees to volunteer to step away from their positions in as little as 11 days. On 1st June, KLM will open up its Voluntary Resignation Scheme (VRS) to employees. The idea is to encourage those willing to leave the company to do so of their own accord.

Historically, moves like this have been popular in companies where employees are reaching retirement or looking to leave the company in a few years. Voluntary resignation programs often carry the added benefits of better financial compensation.

KLM’s scheme will offer staff the ability to claim a higher severance package but will also pave the way for those employees that want to stay on.

Limiting future forced redundancies

Any employees that willingly put themselves forward to leave the airline will make the coming months easier on KLM. The airline is attempting to mitigate the cumbersome task of asking its staff to leave. It is unclear at this point how many employees are needed to avoid this scenario.

KLM staff at airport
Less staff will create a stronger KLM in the future. Photo: Getty Images

In a press release, the airline said the following:


“The new scheme could create more room for KLM employees who remain in service.”

KLM continued:

“KLM would rather bid farewell to employees who choose to do so themselves, as opposed to colleagues who do not voluntarily choose to do so.”

The airline, headquartered in Amstelveen with its hub at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, is calling for redundancies due to the coronavirus. It says that going forward, there will be fewer jobs available. By condensing its employee base, KLM is not only managing its balance sheet but responding to demand.

What does the future look like for KLM?

Whether or not the resignation scheme was expected, it certainly seems like the right choice for the airline. KLM will have a reduced schedule in the coming months and will not have the availability for its current staff.

Air France and KLM
Air France-KLM’s capacity will be severely cut and will operate at just over half by the end of the year. Photo: Getty Images

The Air France-KLM group is offering just 5% of its regular scheduled routes for the second quarter of 2020. In the third quarter, this capacity is expected to rise but only to 20%. The group is still hopeful that by the end of the year, it could have 60% of its schedule on offer.

That leaves another 40% unaccounted for heading into 2021. Already, Air-France-KLM is planning to reduce its fleet by 20% in 2021 in comparison to its 2019 fleet. It just will not have the same capacity that it has enjoyed in previous years.

That said, June’s offering is still a sad development. We contacted KLM to find out more about its scheme and what it means for employees, but it was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

How do you think KLM’s future will look? Was it right to announce a voluntary resignation scheme? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.