After the coronavirus brought commercial aviation to a resounding stop, many airlines have started to rebuild their networks. Air France subsidiary KLM has also announced plans to reboot its network in the coming months.
KLM aims to operate 5 000 European flights next month and a further 11 000 in August. Whereas it estimates inter-continental flight numbers to stay low at 1 900 — mostly cargo — and 2 100 in August. As for intercontinental passenger flights, it says:
KLM hopes that – if worldwide travel restrictions are relaxed – an increasing number of intercontinental flights will be allowed to carry passengers again from July onwards.
The Dutch carrier operated only 1 116 European flights and 612 intercontinental flights in April. Since then, however, KLM confirmed that flight numbers are on an upward curve.
Despite apparent signs of recovery, KLM asserts that the current market share is nowhere near 2019 levels. It states:
In the months of July and August last year, KLM operated a total of some 22,000 flights. Moreover, the occupancy rate lags behind the record year of 2019.
It went as far as posting a chart drawing a comparison of 2019 and 2020 stats.
Destinations Over Flight Numbers
KLM has preferred opening routes to more destinations rather than increasing flight capacity or frequency. This approach — as declared by KLM — is to “offer customers a wide choice” of places to travel.
This means that it will be resuming flights to around 80% of its normal European routes in July. It predicts this number to jump to 95% the following month.
Europe’s leading carriers Ryanair, EasyJet, Lufthansa and KLM are now all standing in line to break free from the dry spell. As we’ve highlighted earlier, the stage is now set for them to finally rebuild their networks.
Travel restrictions have eased considerably and demand is growing by the day.
Besides health measures at airports and onboard, most airlines are advocating the use of face masks —as the go-to precaution — for travellers.
We had reported earlier, KLM’s plans to increase operations in the month of July. At the same time, it recognizes the tough times lying ahead and thereby announcing a “structural capacity reduction” for the future.
The Dutch Finance Minister, Wopke Hoekstra, will also release details of a €2-4 billion government bailout package later in the month.
What do you think of KLM’s unique approach of rebuilding its network? Let us know in the comments!