Effective 29 March 2020, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will replace one of its daily services between Brussels and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (“Schiphol”) with seat capacity aboard the Thalys high-speed train. In recent months, KLM, Thalys and NS Dutch Railways have developed a long-term plan to reduce the number of flights between Brussels and Schiphol. The basic premise being that the product should match its current appeal to customers.
KLM has regularly indicated that it is in favour of replacing short-haul flights with rail services, as long as trains fully match the speed, reliability and comfort that air travel offers passengers. The decision to reduce flight frequency from five to four flights a day on the Brussels-Schiphol route, in combination with the improved Air&Rail product aboard the Thalys, is a first step. KLM intends to gradually cut back the number of flights between Brussels and Schiphol. The Brussels-Schiphol route is used by passengers who catch connecting flights to intercontinental destinations at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
“Intermodal transport involving trains and planes remains a complex and challenging business. Speed is key, not only in terms of the train itself, but also the transfer process at the airport. We aim to make maximum progress in both areas. Reducing our frequency from five to four flights a day is a good way of gaining more experience with Air&Rail services." - KLM President & CEO Pieter Elbers
“Fly Responsibly” and slot restrictions
This step is part of KLM’s commitment to “Fly Responsibly”, which aims to create a sustainable future for air transport, but it also reflects our commitment to the sector plan Smart and Sustainable. Next to that, KLM is faced with slot restrictions at Schiphol. By replacing short-haul flights with rail services, scarce slots can be used for services to long-haul destinations. Rail services will maintain feeder traffic to Schiphol, while network quality improves thanks to the more varied range of available destinations.
Improvement of the Air&Rail product
Air&Rail is easy to book via KLM.com and travel agents. To ensure smoother connections with KLM flights, Thalys, NS, KLM and Schiphol are seeking to improve baggage handling and other services, and there will be a special Air&Rail check-in desk at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.