AMSTERDAM, 21 June 2021: As more countries are reopening their borders, KLM is anticipating a cautious re-emergence of customer demand for destinations in Asia and the Middle East.
This summer, KLM’s network will be virtually identical to the one it operated in 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, fewer flights to the destinations will be offered. There is also the option that flights to the destinations will be offered in different combinations.
In a press statement at the weekend, the airline identified the most significant changes compared with its 2019 pre-pandemic schedule.
KLM says it will introduce new destinations such as Riyad in Saudi Arabia this summer while flights to Phuket in Thailand) will be introduced this October (winter schedule).
“It is a positive sign that the number of destinations in the Middle East and Asia has nearly returned to previous levels. While this is a step in the right direction, we aren’t there yet. Vaccinations are the key to the recovery of the aviation sector. After that, an internationally valid vaccination passport will play a crucial role in restoring our clients’ mobility,” said KLM president and CEO Pieter Elbers.
There are 17 destinations planned for this summer, compared with 19 in 2019. Xiamen (China) is temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, although KLM partner, Xiamen Airlines, is currently flying routes from China. Service to Denpasar (Indonesia) will be offered as soon as Bali reopens, which will “hopefully be later this summer”.
The Thai holiday island Phuket joins the network in winter 2021, with four flights weekly.
For the time being, flights to Hangzhou and Shanghai (China) will keep the current stopover in Seoul (South Korea). Once the rules change, KLM will make further adjustments to the schedules.
The airline flies to Chengdu once a week with passengers and cargo, after which the flight continues to Beijing via a stopover in Seoul. From there, KLM transports passengers and cargo back to Amsterdam. Service to Bengalûru (India) has been suspended.
Specific travel restrictions and quarantine requirements remain in effect in many Asian countries. As this changes, scheduling within the network will need to be updated frequently throughout the winter season.
In the summer of 2021, KLM will fly to seven destinations – the same number as in 2019.
KLM offers Riyad (Saudi Arabia) as a new destination, with flights departing twice a week in the summer season and three times a week for the winter schedule.
Service to Abu Dhabi has been suspended, although KLM offers this destination as a codeshare with Etihad Airways.
“The expectation is that Abu Dhabi will be reintroduced as a destination in winter 2021, thereby increasing the number of destinations to eight,” KLM noted.
KLM offers its customers maximum flexibility when booking, changing or cancelling a journey. Having adopted the highest possible standards in hygiene measures, KLM was recently awarded Diamond APEX status, placing KLM among the world’s leading airlines when it comes to hygiene and health safety.