Breaking Travel News

Air France KLM cuts schedule as demand falls

  The Air France KLM Group’s summer 2009 schedule (29 March - 25 October) has been adjusted in line with the sharp decline in demand caused by the economic crisis which is affecting all corners of the world.In terms of available seat kilometres (ASK), Air France-KLM Group capacity for the summer 2009 season will be down by -3.4% compared with summer 2008; - 3.4 % on the long-haul network and -3.4% on the medium-haul network.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines’ service to Tallinn, Hyderabad and Aruba will temporarily be suspended while direct flights to Liverpool and Calgary are scheduled for introduction.
Even more than in previous seasons, during the summer schedule, capacity will be adjusted towards the peak months. KLM’s overall capacity will be reduced by about 5% compared to last summer.
North Atlantic: KLM plans to pursue its strong focus on strategic markets, an example of which is the introduction of a new service to Calgary, Canada, five times a week using an Airbus A330-200. Air France, KLM and Canadian low-cost airline WestJet recently announced their plans to build a new commercial relationship between the three airlines. This offers Air France and KLM the opportunity to strengthen their position in services to Canada and increase the number of destinations.
Following the recent merger between Delta Air Lines and KLM’s US partner Northwest Airlines, KLM intends to maintain its successful transatlantic joint venture while developing this further within the new context. As one of the first steps in the intensifying cooperation, Delta and Northwest are planning to mutually implement cross-fleeting (combining each others fleet). Newark and Portland (Oregon) will be the first destinations to apply this, using a Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-300.
Northwest Airlines will add the third frequency to New York JFK using a Boeing 757-200. New early morning departures from JFK and Chicago should improve connections to the Middle East and Africa, making these schedules commercially more attractive. Northwest plans to operate all four daily services between Detroit and Amsterdam and will also raise capacity to Seattle by deploying an Airbus A330-300.
Central and South America: In Central America, KLM responds to the good performance on the Amsterdam-Panama City route by adding two weekly flights, raising the total to five weekly roundtrips. This major capacity increase reflects the strength of this growing market and the fruitful cooperation with Copa Airlines on this route, which was launched less than a year ago with code-share flights beyond Panama City.
To adjust to the market situation, KLM has temporarily suspended flights to Aruba at the start of the summer schedule. Passengers can still fly to Aruba seven days a week with Martinair, part of the KLM Group. Flights and capacity to Paramaribo will increase from three flights a week using a Boeing 747 full passenger aircraft, to four flights per week using an MD-11. Starting 1 June, KLM will add a fifth weekly flight to this schedule to better gear to the seasonality of this market. Reallocating aircraft should result in a major increase in capacity on the route to Cura?ao. Daily flights will use a Boeing 747 full passenger aircraft instead of an MD-11. Twice a week these flights will also serve the island of St Maarten.
Asia: KLM will continue to serve the Greater China region with a comprehensive passenger product. Together with strategic partner China Southern, KLM plans to operate 14 weekly services between Beijing and Amsterdam. Shanghai is scheduled for twelve frequencies, while service to Chengdu will increase to four weekly roundtrips. Responding to the wishes of business travellers, KLM is adjusting its schedules to Hong Kong and Shanghai, ensuring that flights from these cities—and from Amsterdam—depart in the evening.
Service to the Indian market will be adjusted in response to local market developments and financial results from these routes. KLM has suspended operations to Hyderabad, while trimming capacity to Mumbai as a Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-300 replaces the Northwest Airlines Airbus A330-200 now in use. Overall capacity to Asia is reduced by approximately 5%.
Africa and the Middle East: Less affected by the economic crisis, Africa and the Middle East still offer opportunities for growth. Overall, KLM plans to raise capacity to these regions. In Africa, KLM will increase frequency to Entebbe (Uganda) from four to five flights a week, while deploying larger aircraft on the Amsterdam-Nairobi route. In the Gulf region, KLM plans to grow and improve its network and services by increasing frequencies to Teheran (from four to five flights a week) and Muscat (from five to six flights a week). Daily services between Amsterdam and Kuwait and six direct flights a week to Abu Dhabi offer attractive schedules to business travellers.
Europe: In Europe, KLM will be trimming capacity in the range of 4% according to varying performance and demand in specific markets. KLM will free up fleet in Europe by suspending the Tallinn route and reducing capacity to Nice, Bristol, Kiev and several other destinations. The reallocated fleet should strengthen KLM’s presence in Northern Europe by increasing flight frequency to Stavanger (five daily roundtrips) and Helsinki (four daily roundtrips). In this way, KLM can also expand its UK network by launching thrice daily service between Amsterdam and Liverpool.
This summer KLM expects to welcome its third and fourth Boeing 777-300. These aircraft are intended for deployment on routes to South East Asia, Latin America and Africa.
KLM is also renewing its regional fleet by gradually replacing its Fokker 100s with Embraer 190s. These will be deployed mainly on routes operated by KLM Cityhopper to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Germany.