KLM: One-Stop Service to Europe Will Continue

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has renewed its permit to fly to the Philippines. The airline is the only European carrier serving the Philippines with service to Amsterdam via Taipei. It has been serving Manila for the past 61 years. 

KLM Philippines
Copyright Photo: Patrick Cardinal/Wikipedia
As Philippine Airlines begins its launch into Europe, many are wondering if KLM will reintroduce its non-stop service to Amsterdam. The airline discontinued its non-stop flight in 2012 citing high Philippine taxes. It was the only airline providing direct service between Europe and the Philippines since 2004.

For those eagerly anticipating the return of non-stop service, the wait will have to continue. According to Jurriaan Stelder, KLM's General Manager for the South China Sea, the airline does not have any intention of abandoning its one-stop service to Amsterdam via Taipei in the immediate future. "Unfortunately, the current economic climate in Europe does not yet allow a return to non-stop operation within a short period," said Stelder. "In the meantime, KLM is on a path of increasing seat capacity on the route."

The increase in seat capacity comes following the Philippine government's removal of the common carrier's tax earlier this year which lifts a considerable burden on foreign airlines and enables KLM to pursue growth in the Philippines once again. But soaring fuel prices and a weak European economy have reduced the profitability of long haul routes even for KLM, one of the largest airlines in Europe.

The steady expansion of Middle Eastern carriers along with the growing market share of low-cost carriers have combined to create stiffer competition in the rapidly rising Southeast Asian market. Cebu Pacific announced that it will pursue service to Europe once it can be removed off the European black list hopefully as early as this November. The rise of low cost carriers like Norwegian Air Shuttle in the Southeast Asian market is also cause for concern to KLM. "Today, one out of four passengers in Asia is travelling low cost," said Stelder. "Air France-KLM is cooperating where necessary with low-cost carriers like Jetstar." 

But KLM intends to meet the competition from low-cost carriers and Middle East carriers head on as it makes moves to strengthen its position in the market. The airline is banking on its competitive prices and excellent service to help ensure that it maintains its position in the market. In addition, the airline is investing in new aircraft, refurbishing its existing fleet, and making enhancements to its business class.

KLM believes that one distinct advantage it has over its competitors is its extensive network and modern hub. "We provide passengers convenient connecting possibilities to other destinations in Europe and beyond via Amsterdam's Schipol Airport, undoubtedly one of the best airports in the world," said Stelder. "KLM is also making it more attractive to fly to Europe by offering a free stopover in Amsterdam. This will give our customers the opportunity to visit Amsterdam and see the beauty and hospitality this historic city has to offer." 

The airline is also introducing stylish changes to its World Business Class. KLM partnered with top Dutch designer Hella Jongerius to design an entirely new atmosphere. "The new design's guiding principle is to ensure that passengers feel at home," said Stelder. "That involves a transition from a business-like look to a greater sense of being at home. This has been achieved by using a characteristically warm color palette, more sustainable materials, and by enhancing personal comfort."

Meanwhile, KLM won't be alone for long on its route between Amsterdam and the Philippines. Philippine Airlines recently revealed that it will be flying to Europe for the first time in fifteen years beginning in November with a direct flight to London Heathrow. The airline plans to serve Amsterdam once slot negotiations have concluded.

1 comment:

Powered by Blogger.