KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has invited aircraft and engine manufacturers, and lease companies to submit tenders for aircraft seating approximately 300 passengers, to replace the airline’s Boeing 747-300s, and possibly its MD-11s and/or Boeing 767-300ERs in due course.
KLM’s decision to introduce a new aircraft type is the continuation of the airline’s policy of replacing older aircraft with new, more efficient and environment-friendly ones, witness the current replacement of Boeing 737-300/400 aircraft with aircraft of the Next Generation 737-800/900 series.
The aircraft types considered for replacing the Boeing 747-300 are, currently, the Airbus A330 and the Boeing 777. Airbus and Boeing have consequently been requested to submit offers, as have the engine manufacturers General Electric Aircraft Engines, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls Royce. Several lease companies have also been invited to submit offers.
KLM has requested purchase rights for a maximum of 34 planes, including 12 to replace the Boeing 747-300 fleet. The additional rights will cover a possible replacement of the MD-11 and Boeing 767 in the more distant future, enabling fleet standardization.
These purchase rights can be converted one by one into orders at pre-determined prices and conditions. However, KLM may decide not to exercise these rights, either in whole or in part. Final decision-making is expected in the first half of 2002.
Key selection criteria for fleet renewal include:
* better alignment with customer appreciation and enhanced flexibility in route network operations;
* reduction of environmental impact;
* reduction of unit costs.