- KLM grounded vast majority of its planes at its base at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
- Dutch carrier is working with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to bring back home stranded citizens
- KLM will retire its Boeing 747s planes, around one year earlier than originally planned
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (OTCMKTS:KLMR), the flag carrier airline of the Netherlands, has parked the vast majority of its planes at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Given the size of its fleet, the Dutch carrier was forced to use one of Schiphol’s six runways for parking purposes.
In a blog post on its website, KLM said that it grounded all its Boeing 777-200s, Airbus A330s, and one 747 are grounded at Schiphol. It is estimated that KLM will have around 200 aircraft parked-up at Schiphol Airport at one point during the crisis.
As some other carriers, the Amsterdam-based KLM is now focused on bringing back stranded Dutch travelers home.
For instance, KLM flew to Sydney last week for the first time in 20 years when it sent its Boeing 777 to bring back a group of total 2,000 Dutch travelers.
“We are proud to be meaningful in this way during this global crisis,” said Rene de Groot, KLM COO in a statement released yesterday.
“These flights are extra special in KLM’s history. We have had a strong relationship with Australia since 1950, as the country has been a valuable destination in our network for over 50 years. It is now the first time in 20 years that another KLM aircraft lands at Sydney Airport.”
As elsewhere, the repatriation flights are operated by carriers on the request of governments. These types of flights, such as the one to Sydney and back, are arranged via the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. KLM will be flying to Sydney through Kuala Lumpur as the carrier needs just over 23 hours to complete a trip from Amsterdam to Sydney.
The existing crisis has also forced KLM to retire its Boeing 747s planes, around one year earlier than originally planned.
“This is earlier than planned, but essential in view of the current crisis. The “Queens of the Air” will be flown to their final destination at a later date,” said KLM.