Coronavirus impact on KLM: Operations slashed by 85 - 90 percent

Planes parked at Schiphol, 25 March 2020
Planes parked at Schiphol, 25 March 2020Politiehelikopter, @DePolitieheliTwitter

The global coronavirus outbreak effectively halved KLM's flight traffic and passenger numbers in March, the Dutch airline announced on Thursday. As more and more flights got canceled due to more and more countries closing its borders, KLM's operations shrank to around 15 percent of the levels achieved last year in the last days of the month. KLM started its summer schedule on April 1st, running only around 10 percent of its flights compared to last year's figures. All Transavia operations have been halted. 

"It is unclear when KLM's worldwide network will again be operating at its previous levels," CEO Pieter Elbers said.

Compared to March 2019, KLM's traffic decreased by 49 percent. The airline's overall passenger numbers fell by 54 percent, with passenger numbers to Asia falling most at -61.3 percent, followed by destinations to Europe and North Africa with -57.4 percent. Cargo traffic was also affected, decreasing 24.7 percent with a capacity reduction of 24.5 percent. 

"The coronavirus pandemic is having a massive impact on the KLM Group. Within a very short space of time we have literally had to park almost everything," Elbers said. "It's clear that it will take a great deal of time for the markets - and therefore KLM and Transavia - to recover."

KLM will be operating from its home base in the Netherlands on an adjusted network for the time being, Elbers said. "Numerous measures are being adopted for us to navigate through these trying times as best we can."

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