Two years from now, KLM will mark the centenary of its foundation: a milestone which it believes makes it the world’s oldest continuously operating passenger airline.
For chief executive Pieter Elbers, the coming event is a source of huge pride – but no guarantee of its continued standing on the global stage.
As part of Air France-KLM Group and a member of the SkyTeam alliance, the Dutch flag-carrier today serves 164 destinations in 74 countries, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows. Its operational fleet totals 117 aircraft – although once its KLM Cityhopper and Transavia units are included this increases to 209 – and its relationships with China Southern Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic enable it to widen its reach significantly beyond Europe.
“We look at what’s happening in the world in terms of industry consolidation,” Elbers tells FlightGlobal. Such widespread co-operation is a key part of KLM’s strategy, he adds, “in order for us to continue to play a relevant role in a world of giants”.
The benefits are also clear for customers, he notes. “We deliver a fantastic network, with unparalleled travel opportunities.”
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