KLM to operate full US route network capacity, despite lagging traffic


KLM announced that it will operate flights to the same number of US destinations during the summer season of 2021 in comparison to its 2019 summer US route network. However, the carrier’s loading capacity and flight frequency are still a long way off from 2019 levels.

According to a press statement released on June 2, 2021, KLM forecasts an increase in travel demand due to lower restrictions from the accelerated vaccination rate overseas and in Europe. Hence, the airline is gearing to cater for an increase in traffic on its US network destinations. 

The carrier will operate flights to a total of 16 US destinations in the summer season of 2021 in comparison to 17 US destinations in the summer of 2019. A direct flight to the missing destination, Salt Lake City, will be offered from Amsterdam, as part of its partnership with Delta Air Lines.

The Dutch flag carrier plans to add an additional two routes over the summer, namely Las Vegas and Minneapolis. However, its decision to move forward with the routes is reliant on developments following the de-restriction of travel between Europe and the United States.

“It’s very positive that our North American destination network has practically returned to its original level, in terms of the number of destinations,” said KLM President & CEO Pieter Elbers. “North America is an important market for KLM. This relationship goes far back, illustrated by the fact that this year we commemorate 75 years of flights to New York. Hopefully the travel restrictions for the United States, Canada and Mexico will be reduced soon, offering our passengers more opportunities to travel once again to North America. An internationally valid vaccination passport would be very helpful for this.

Additionally, the carrier intends to add two new US destinations to its network during its winter schedule which runs from October 31, 2021, to March 26, 2022. The destinations are the Mexican resort of Cancun and Orlando in the American state of Florida. 

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