KLM pays off last Covid-support loan, thanks Dutch State for aid
KLM officially closed the direct loan and credit facility guaranteed by the Dutch government on Monday, the Dutch airline announced. That was the last bit of Covid-19 support the airline had kept open. “We are grateful to the Dutch government for its support during the coronavirus crisis,” KLM CEO Marjan Rintel said.
During the pandemic, which brought large parts of air travel to a complete standstill during the first year and severely restricted it in the second year, the Dutch government provided State Aid to the Dutch airline. That took the form of a direct loan of 1 billion euros and a 90 percent guarantee on a 2.4 billion euro bank credit facility.
KLM ended up using 942 million euros of the available 3.4 billion euros. It repaid that amount in full in June 2022 but kept the credit facility open in case it needed it.
“It’s encouraging that we can stand on our own feet again after such a difficult period,” Rintel said about closing the government-backed credit facility. “Our focus remains on meeting our sustainability targets and staying financially healthy through achieving structural cost savings. This will not change, and it is the only way for us to continue connecting our customers who want to travel the world.”
While KLM is grateful to the Cabinet for its support during the coronavirus pandemic, the Dutch airline is also in a legal battle with that same government. The Cabinet wants to reduce the number of air traffic movements at Schiphol Airport from 500,000 to 460,000 in the upcoming season. KLM, and other airlines, want to stop that. The first court ruled in the airlines’ favor, but Minister Mark Harbers of Infrastructure appealed against the ruling.