Dutch flag carrier KLM will cut capacity to just 55 per cent of pre-COVID levels in November as a second wave of Coronavirus spreads across Europe, most notably in the United Kingdom, France and Spain. Similar moves have already been announced by several other airlines, including Finnair and Ryanair which intends to cut its schedule to just 40 per cent of 2019’s levels.
KLM hit out at quarantine rules imposed by the British government on inbound travellers from the Netherlands, saying the 14-day self-isolation requirement has had a “marked impact” on its operation. A growing number of airlines have urged the UK government to replace draconian quarantine with airport COVID-19 testing but promises to explore the proposals have so far failed to materialise.
“KLM was gradually and responsibly expanding its European and intercontinental network after the corona crisis had prompted severe restrictions on destinations and frequencies,” the airline explained in a statement on Wednesday.
“KLM’s primary aim is to offer customers the widest range of destinations, after which we will consider increasing the number of frequencies or expanding capacity by deploying larger aircraft.”
In August, the airline – which is part of the Franco-Dutch Airfrance-KLM Group – was offering flights to nearly its entire pre-COVID European network. Capacity, however, only hit a high of 60 per cent during a lacklustre Summer season that was cut short by surges in Coronavirus cases in some popular holiday destinations.
KLM has also resumed service to roughly 80 per cent of its long-haul route network but again, capacity has been capped at just 60 per cent. The carrier recently restarted flights to the Chinese city of Hangzhou via Seoul and plans to add Riyadh to its network from December 7th.
In an attempt to increase consumer confidence in the safety of air travel during the Corona crisis, KLM toughened its stance on the wearing of face masks on Monday. Medically exempt passengers will now be required to present both a signed doctors note and a negative COVID-19 test certificate if they want to fly with KLM without wearing a face mask.
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