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KLM Redeploys Two Boeing 747 Combi Aircraft for Medical Relief

Photo © KLM

KLM and Philips establish special cargo air bridge between Amsterdam and China

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines on Friday announced that it will redeploy two Boeing 747 Combi aircraft to service as cargo flights for essential medical supplies between the Netherlands and China to assist in the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.

“The loss of around 90 percent of flights between Europe and Asia has resulted in a major shortage of cargo capacity,” KLM said in an announcement.

The airline said it joined hands with Royal Philips and the Dutch government to create a special cargo air bridge between the Netherlands and China that will ensure continuous availability of special cargo capacity.

The air bridge to Asia will be launched on April 13 and will see two weekly flights to Beijing and three weekly flights to Shanghai and ensure around 250 tonnes of extra cargo capacity each way per week, KLM said.

The flights will supplement the current “skeleton schedule” that took effect on March 29, with two weekly flights to Beijing and two weekly flights to Shanghai, operated with Boeing 787s and 777s.


Photo © KLM

The KLM/Martinair Full Freighters will continue to be deployed on North Atlantic routes, which Philips will use as an air bridge between Amsterdam and distribution points in the United States.

The Full Freighters will also continue to operate on South Atlantic routes and to destinations in Africa.

“I believe it is incredibly important that KLM can be of service to broader Dutch society in this time of crisis, by way of our flexibility, creativity and cooperation with partners. This is perfectly exemplified by the initiative from Philips to join hands with KLM in seeking a solution for freeing up cargo capacity between Europe and China for essential medical supplies,” KLM President and CEO Pieter Elbers said.

In view of the 90 percent decline in flights and anticipated future capacity, KLM had previously decided in March that it would phase out its remaining Boeing 747s in April 2020, instead of in the summer of 2021.

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