KLM plans to appoint Marjan Rintel as its new chief executive, the Dutch airline said on March 31, 2022, making her a rare female leader among airline chiefs. 

Rintel is currently president and CEO of Dutch Railways (NS), but is familiar with KLM, having previously worked for the airline for 15 years in various positions. She will succeed Pieter Elbers on July 1, 2022.  

“With her broad managerial, commercial and operational experience, we are bringing in someone who is close to the staff and who, together with her team, will continue to shape the future of KLM as a customer-focused, sustainable and financially healthy company,” supervisory board chairman Cees 't Hart commented in a press release.  “We are convinced that her knowledge of the sector, her network and her experience in the political arena will contribute to this.” 

Rintel said she hoped to continue the success of Elbers at KLM. “Aviation is in times of great and complex challenges,” she said. “I am of the opinion that an indigenous Dutch company like KLM, just like NS, has a major role to play in these social and economic challenges. Fulfilling that role successfully will be my priority from day one.” 

According to an analysis by FlightGlobal released on International Women’s Day, just 7 of the world’s top 100 airlines are led by women.  

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 KLM is part of the Air France-KLM group. KLM returned to profit in the second half of 2021 amidst recovering travel demand.