KLM- The flying Dutchman hopes to keep flying
KLM, the national carrier of Netherlands and the world’s oldest airline who just celebrated their 100 years last year is dealing with the effects of coronavirus resulting in reduction of flights and grounding of aircrafts amidst travel restrictions. It has a fleet of around 123 Airbus and Boeing aircraft serving 145 destinations.
What we know so far
KLM has announced to cut 40% of its flights and also news that 1500-2000 jobs would be cut due to the current scenario and to cut cost. The nation has banned all flights to and from China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, South Korea. KLM had first started to reduce its service to Asia hoping things would improve but contrary to its hopes it was forced to cancel more flights due to flight bans and restrictions. Since U.S imposed bans on European Travel, KLM had said it would operate to Atlanta, Washington D.C, New York-JFK, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco until the 29th of March.
There are over 200 weekly flights between Amsterdam-Schipol and the U.S. KLM has already suspended flights to and from China, Italy, South Korea and has stopped services to Kuwait and Bahrain due to the latter’s Airport closure. It is also set to operate scheduled services to India until the 22nd of March and expected to change its schedule subjected to the demand as India has also temporarily cancelled Visas for foreign nationals.
KLM’s iconic B747-400
KLM had decided to retire its iconic B747-400 in 2021 but has decided to reschedule its retirement to as early as April this year owing to the current financial situation which has prompted the airline to opt for early retirement of these aircrafts.
This comes at a time when the airline is grounding aircrafts due to reduction in demand and the B747 is seen as surplus for the current demand as it would house close to 400 passengers with high maintenance costs. This early retirement has also wiped out the chances of having a grand retirement ceremony owing to the current scenario.
Financial situation of KLM
In order to aid the current finance of the airline, it has decided to cut 1500-2000 jobs and is in negotiation with unionised labour to reduce working hours by 30%. It has also currently freezes hiring and training . Dutch Finance minister on Sunday came out saying Netherlands will do anything and everything it takes to keep KLM-Air France flying. Their shares have been hit by 50% this month. This comes at a time when fellow European airlines such as British Airways, Norwegian have announced similar measures to cut workforce.