KLM to cut all long-distance flights, new measures could be death sentence for Dutch company

KLM plans to cancel between 50-60% of their flights, and staff are concerned that the Dutch aviation company is heading for bankruptcy.

After cabinet’s announcement yesterday that rapid negative tests will be required to travel back to the Netherlands, and connections between the UK, South Africa and South America are banned, KLM has decided to stop all long-distance flights.

A negative PCR test — which must be no more than 72 hours old upon arrival in the Netherlands — was already a requirement for anyone travelling to the Netherlands. But now the additional rapid test, which takes just 15 minutes to give a result, is creating new problems for KLM.

Stranded employees

The company’s main concern is that with the additional testing requirement, employees who test positive for COVID-19 will be stuck in faraway countries for days, reports RTL Nieuws. “As a good employer, we never leave crew behind abroad,” says KLM.

Flights to European destinations where staff are required to stay overnight in a hotel will also be cancelled for the same reasons, reports NU.nl.

The union president Reinier Castelein agrees with this decision, referring to destinations like Nairobi and Abu Dhabi. “There you cannot leave a 30-year-old flight attendant who does not speak the language alone,” he says. “And with an even stricter lockdown you might not return for weeks.”

Panic among employees

The Union represents around 2,300 of the 13,000 KLM ground workers and says they have been getting many desperate calls from worried employees fearing for their jobs. “But I also get a lot of calls from worried and even crying flight attendants and pilots,” says Castelein. “There is panic.”

KLM had pleaded with The Hague to exempt company workers from the rapid test requirement, but they were refused. Castelein says the Netherlands is the only country asking this of flight crew and that “the government is killing the entire sector in this way.”

Unclear exactly which flights will be chopped

KLM is yet to announce exactly which flights they will be cancelling, or when the planes will be grounded. “There are going to be a number of things, but we are currently coordinating which flights are involved,” a KLM spokesperson told NU.

How will the banning of long-distance flights affect you? Tell us in the comments below.

Feature Image: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Emily Burger
Emily Burger
Emily grew up in South Africa but has also lived in Egypt, the UK, Canada and now the Netherlands. She first came here for her Bachelors in Arts and Culture at Maastricht University and soon fell in love with the land of canals, clogs and cheese. When she's not daydreaming about sci-fi movies or countries yet to explore, you can find her writing for DutchReview.
  1. I am currently in Thailand and should go to Belgium next Wednesday. When read that all long distance to Amsterdam are temporarly cancelled from this Friday, I asked to « Mytrip » if my flight is concerned, they answer it is still confirmed.
    So what?
    I have a flight to Bangkok,
    a hotel,
    the TCR to pass 72 hours before to take off
    A home to rent in Belgium.
    Go on or not? What about the refunding of all expenses ?
    Rules are changing all the time and country by country, a mess!
    Thailand can control the pandemia, to wear mask, keep distance and wash hands and control temperature in all public places!

  2. I am in Germany and have a flight to northern Ireland confirmed for 14th February. The connection is from Amsterdam to Belfast. I hope to get my covid test on the 10th of February and receive the results by the 12th of February. This will be another extra cost for me. Then if my flights get cancelled AGAIN I will be out of pocket for the expenses. What if part of my flight happens and i reach Amsterdam and get refused my connection. Where do I go and if there is no accommodation for me then im stuck at an airport.

  3. wollten mit KLM am 11 Februar nach Mexico fliegen um dort eine Tauchsafari zu machen
    Es kann keiner sagen ob der Flug geht Katastrophe
    Boot lässt sich nun so kurzfristig nicht mehr umbuchen oder stornieren. Kosten ca 9000 Euro haben 3 Jahre gespart.
    Danke KLM
    Haben jetzt KLM Flug storniert und auf Lh umgebucht.
    KLM war Mal zuverlässig.
    Die Leute so im unklaren zu lassen.
    Geht gar nicht.
    Letztes Jahr war alles neu aber jetzt??
    Danke Holland und KLM

  4. The Dutch government Is managing the covid as the worst in Europe, when they had to close. they opened and now when in most of Europe are opening they close.
    Nice Job really

  5. Fingers crossed am off to Dar es salaam – Tanzania from Vancouver Canada on 25th via Amsterdam I don’t know if I will make it!!!!!?????

  6. Currently in Curaçao and on a lease for life. As is I will not return to Holland until it is like Curaçao covid-wise. If that comes too late then so be it.

  7. I am set to move back to Canada feb 25th. Am a canadian citizen.. am very very stressed out about this about this. If i need to rebook for ASAP then i can but must need time for my PCR test. I am truly not sure what to do.

  8. Last year, my flight was cancelled and m still waiting for my refund… I plan to flight India in July-August but it looks likeKLM is not flying for long distance…..

  9. International travel is going to be affected especially those flights crossing Atlantic, to Tanzania via Amsterdam. Tourism is going to be affected, as KLM is main flight to Kilimanjaro Airport which connects World. Zanzibar beach holidays, Tanzania Safari bookings and Kilimanjaro climbing trips are going to be reduced tremendously.

  10. I like KLM so much! I’m leaving in Sweden and just came back from Brazil. My plan is to travel long distances with KLM 2 times per year. I hope they don’t cancel our flights!

  11. My flight from Bangkok to Amsterdam on 15th Jan cancelled without warning . No alternatives offered! Now awaiting refund before booking another route but more complicated as coming from Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand . Most flights seem to be “self transfer” and when three or four stops is considered timing is difficult


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