As aviation is gradually regaining its shape post the pandemic, several airlines have shown interest in increasing operations in months to come. In a latest update, Air France-KLM has stated its plans to increase the number of flights by 60% in the month of July, 2020, as compared to the flights that the airline shall be operating in June, 2020. By doing so, Air France – KLM joins the list of many other airlines, such as Lufthansa, Turkish, United, American and Delta, to name a few, who shall be adding capacity to the July timetable.
The airline currently operates on a minimal schedule to ensure that essential air links are running. This skeleton programme is just 5 percent of the previously planned capacity during the second quarter for 2020. In addition to suspending most mainline flights, its low-cost subsidiary ‘Transavia’ had also suspended all operations. As the mainline carrier is expected to gradually pick up pace in the third quarter of the year, Transavia also has stated plans to restart few operations.
Compared to the same time last year, Air France-KLM shall operate less than 30 percent of its normal flight schedule for July this year, which still corresponds to more than 3000 flights based out of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport hub. As for destinations served, the carrier shall operate to about 80% of the destinations which were previously planned during the July schedule. However, despite this positive news, the airline is aware of the current scenario and expects a slow growth for years to come as passenger levels gradually restore post the pandemic.
Looking ahead for 2021 and next, Air France-KLM has stated:
‘We shall plan a structural capacity reduction of at least 20% of fleet versus 2019, as we expect passenger demand not to recover to pre-crisis levels for several years’.
On the same line, deliveries of the three Airbus A350s that were due to enter Air France’s fleet in 2020, have been postponed until a year later. While Air France has A220s and A350s on order, KLM is also expecting Embraer E2 jets and Boeing 787s to join its fleet. However, no new aircraft shall be entering their fleet for this year.
Various airlines are now restarting, though, with limited force. The important thing here is that passenger demand is slowly, but steadily on rise, for airlines to operate sustainably, if not immensely profitably. What are your thoughts on Air France-KLM planning to increase their operations? Will more airlines follow? Or are the airlines being just overly optimistic? Let us know in the comments!