At aviation company KLM, the negative effects of the new corona virus are now also visible in the transport statistics. In the month of February, the airline had almost a quarter fewer travelers to Asia, which ultimately resulted in a shrink of 2.7 percent of the total passenger flow. KLM boss Pieter Elbers warns that the impact of the virus will be greater in March, because many more routes will be hit than just China. The company expects that many long-haul flights will not be operated in March.
Due to the virus, KLM has suspended several flights to and from Chinese cities for the time being. Less is now also flown to Hong Kong and Italy. According to Elbers, aviation and also KLM ended up in a difficult and uncertain period. According to him, society is making every effort to deal with this crisis. KLM adjusts networks where possible and takes other “appropriate measures”.
Sister company Air France takes into account that 3600 flights will not be operated in March. For long-haul flights, this is a decrease of approximately 13 percent compared to the normal flight schedule. Around a quarter fewer flights will be operated in Europe. Air France expects a decrease of 17 percent on domestic flights. At KLM, long-haul flights take into account a “comparable contraction”.
It was previously known that KLM is postponing unnecessary investments for the time being. There is a temporary type of vacancy stop for some departments. Employees are also requested to make vacation days where possible. All this is needed to reduce costs.
In February, KLM transported slightly fewer than 2.4 million passengers. Faced with the contraction in Asia, there was an increase in passenger numbers at destinations in North America. This was partly due to the opening of the new destinations Las Vegas and Boston.
At Air France, the total passenger flow shrank by 1.4 percent to more than 3.6 million travelers. Low-cost carrier Transavia transported 976,000 travelers in February, an annual increase of more than 9 percent.