KLM to increase flights to Middle-East, Asia as border restrictions ease

PHOTO: Flickr/Leah O'Carroll

The Dutch carrier KLM plans to increase its flights to Asian and Middle-Eastern destinations as countries plan for a re-opening of their borders. According to TTR Weekly, the airline’s summer network is almost the same as in 2019, but with a reduction in the number of flights on offer as a result of the pandemic.

The airline plans to introduce a number of new destinations in the coming months, including flights to Phuket and to the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh. CEO Pieter Elbers says that while flights to Abu Dhabi are currently suspended, KLM currently operates a codeshare flight to the Middle-Eastern emirate with Etihad Airways.

“The expectation is that Abu Dhabi will be reintroduced as a destination in winter 2021, thereby increasing the number of destinations to 8.”

Elbers says vaccinations will be the driving force behind the aviation sector’s recovery.

“It is a positive sign that the number of destinations in the Middle East and Asia has nearly returned to previous levels. While this is a step in the right direction, we aren’t there yet. Vaccinations are the key to the recovery of the aviation sector. After that, an internationally valid vaccination passport will play a crucial role in restoring our clients’ mobility.”

KLM will fly to 17 destinations this summer, a slight reduction on the 19 offered in the pre-pandemic days of 2019. The carrier hopes to resume flights to Denpasar in Bali, as soon as the island re-opens. Flights to Phuket will begin in winter 2021, with KLM offering 4 flights a week. The airline plans to continuously update its Asian schedule as restrictions are eased and quarantine requirements relaxed during the winter season.


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Maya Taylor

A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

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