U.S. entry ban "potentially very drastic", Dutch FM says, to hit KLM harder than China cancelations
Donald Trump's decision to ban flights between Europe and the United states is "potentially very drastic", Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday. "We have very intensive relationships, a lot of people- and a lot of trade traffic." The Minister will examine whether the travel advice for the United States needs to be adjusted, he said to NOS.
KLM president and CEO Pieter Elbers called the American entry ban a "dramatic decision", adding that it will have "far greater" consequences for KLM than not flying to China. "The North Atlantic market is traditionally very important," Elbers said to NOS. "At the moment, there is especially a lot of uncertainty. We have to find out exactly what it will mean for our flights," Elbers said. KLM is currently making an inventory of how the U.S. measure will affect its flights and expects to release more information later on Thursday.
Elbers thinks that through its joint venture with American airline Delta, KLM has "more options" for dealing with this ban than other travel organizations like TUI, for example.
TUI informed its travelers who were planning to fly to the United States today that their trip has been canceled. "Dear passenger, as you may have already heard, the US announced last night that from Friday a travel ban will be imposed on flights between Europe and the US. This in connection with the coronavirus," TUI said in a message to travelers. "This travel ban applies for the next 30 days. This means that unfortunately you can not use your flight OR317 from Amsterdam to Miami and Orlando Sanford today 12 March, because you will not be able to return to Amsterdam for at least the next 30 days. We therefore ask you to stay at home."
The American entry ban applies to 26 European countries, including the Netherlands. Schiphol called a meeting of its crisis teams on Thursday morning to discuss how to deal with this development. Long lines were forming at ticket counters, as people tried to rebook their flight quickly before they can no longer enter the US, according to NU.nl. The airport is working with the airlines to map out the consequences of the ban, a Schiphol spokesperson said to the newspaper. "We are currently very busy with the airlines in inventorying all the measures that we have to take. All I can say now is that we expect it to have an impact."
There are over 200 flights from Schiphol to the United States on a weekly basis.
The United States will introduce an entry ban during the night of Friday to Saturday. We are now mapping out, together with the airlines, what this means exactly for flights to the U.S. We will keep you informed. If you’re due to travel, please contact your airline.
— Schiphol (@Schiphol) March 12, 2020
Trump's announcement also had an impact on the stock markets. Amsterdam's AEX Index was down over 6 percent at 10:45 a.m. compared to closing on Wednesday. Air France-KLM initially fell over 17.5 percent, and had a slight rebound. It’s share price on Euronext Paris was still down over 11 percent at 10:45 a.m.