KLM Royal Dutch Airlines claims that the United Kingdom is a key region for its operations. As Brexit approaches at the end of this month, the Dutch airline remains committed to operating across the English Channel.
Business Traveller reports that KLM CEO Pieter Elbers spoke of the airline’s intent to grow its presence within the UK. KLM currently flies to 16 airports across the UK. This gives passengers across the country the option to switch on to 150 destinations at the carrier’s base at Amsterdam Schiphol. The executive used a press conference in London to highlight his airline’s presence in the country.
“It’s the bread and butter of what we do. If you want to fly from Cardiff to Sao Paolo or Osaka or Hangzhou, we are your best choice. That’s what we’re done for the last 20 years and that’s what we’ll do going forward.
“The moment we stop doing Cardiff and reallocate that [slot] to a new destination in the US, you start to disrupt the system and the wheel.”
The cities that KLM serve include Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Durham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester, Norwich and Newcastle. These destinations affirm KLM’s cross-country presence, however, they are not looking to ruffle any feathers with British airlines.
“We would never consider ourselves more British than the UK, that would be nonsense, of course. But I like to tease Willie Walsh (IAG’s CEO) with it every now and then.”
KLM will celebrate its 100th birthday next week. The company was founded on October 7th, 1919 and its first flight took off a few months later, which was between Amsterdam and London. The relationship between the two regions remains strong, with Elbers speaking proudly of the connection.
With Brexit looming, there has been some uncertainty around aviation connections between the UK and the rest of Europe. Despite the date drawing close, still no deal has been made between the UK government and the European Union. As negotiations continue, there is still no confirmation on the exact changes that will happen within the aviation industry. However, KLM remains positive about business ahead of the leave date of October 31.
Other airlines have also continued to play down the impact on their operations. Recently, Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary said that he is not concerned about the impact of Brexit. The boss of the low-cost carrier said that is confident that the Open Skies policy will remain in place.
Simple Flying reached out to KLM for further comment but had not heard back prior to publication. We will update with any further announcements. Do you think Brexit will impact KLM’s operations with the UK?