LONDON – After a five-month hiatus, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL) has resumed operations to China.
The destination in question was Shanghai, which currently operates on a once-weekly basis under COVID conditions as well as the flight making a stop in Seoul, South Korea on both inbound and outbound flights.
There to see the flight off was the Economic Counselor of the Chinese Embassy Mr. Zhang Guosheng and KLM’s CEO Pieter Elbers.
Comments from KLM CEO
Mr. Elbers commented on this route restart offering this as a positive sign towards recovery.
“The resumption of flights to Shanghai is a cautious but positive sign of recovery and illustrates our good relationship with China and our partners there.”
“KLM is carefully expanding its network to make sure our customers have as much choice of destinations as possible.”
“The fact that we can now offer Shanghai again is an important milestone in the laborious reconstruction of the KLM route network at a difficult time.”
Precautions Are in Place
The airline itself has taken several steps in order to ensure everyone is safe on-board, especially for long-haul flights which have a longer duration.
Face masks are mandatory when boarding and during the flight as well as there being extra hygiene equipment on board like hand sanitiser.
On top of this, the aircraft have hospital grade HEPA filters onboard which recycle air every few minutes, reducing the risk of spread.
Also, the toilets are inspected extra frequently and cleaned throughout the flight as well as catering brought to a minimum.
A Gradual Restart
Whilst it has been a gradual and slow restart for the carrier, it has had a busy four to six weeks.
In other news to the airline, it has had its bailout approved by the European Commission, valued at €3.4bn.
This has been very methodically and carefully placed by the airline.
It does not aim to cause significant spikes in Coronavirus cases both in the Netherlands but also around the world.
Demand is Coming Back
It will be interesting to see where the airline inaugurates next as part of what has been a very disruptive viral period for the global aviation industry.
It does remain clear however that demand for some parts of the world is beginning to recover quicker than others, which is something the commercial industry must capitalize on if it has any chance of survival going forward.