KLM launches airlift to pick up stranded travelers from Australia
From tonight, KLM will start with an airlift from Schiphol to Australia, which will bring home almost 2000 Dutch travelers in the coming days. KLM operates these flights in collaboration with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In recent weeks, KLM has already brought tens of thousands of travelers from all over the world home. “We are proud to be meaningful in this way during this global crisis,” says Rene de Groot, KLM COO. “These flights are extra special in KLM's history. We have had a strong relationship with Australia since 1950, as the country has been a valuable destination in our network for over 50 years. It is now the first time in 20 years that another KLM aircraft lands at Sydney Airport. ”
The plane - KL827 - that departed Schiphol at 08.50 pm is the first in a series of six repatriation flights that flies between Amsterdam Schiphol and Australia. It will land at Sydney Airport on April 4 and fly to Schiphol on April 5 where it will arrive on April 6. This flight will be repeated from April 6-10 April *). KLM will then fly back and forth four times to Kuala Lumpur *) and from there partner Malaysia Airlines will pick up the Dutch from Australia and take them to Kuala Lumpur where they will transfer to a KLM flight to Schiphol. There will also be flown to other Australian cities and to New Zealand.
50 years of Australia
It was KLM's wish before the Second World War to fly directly to the Australian continent, but it took a while before it came true. With the London-Melbournerace in 1934, the airline already demonstrated that it was able to cover such a long distance safely. But landing rights never came.
Fly three and a half days
On December 7, 1950, the time had come and KLM performed a passenger flight to Sydney for the first time. “Fortunately, we can do that faster now than we did then. It now takes us just over 23 hours. Back then it took three and a half days to get there,”explains De Groot. The airline continued to go back and forth to Sydney for 50 years, until the partnership with Malaysian Air System, today's Malaysia Airlines, was expanded. KLM expanded the number of flights to Kuala Lumpur and there were connections to various destinations in Australia and New Zealand.
Dutch travelers abroad who are unable to arrange their return themselves due to the Corona crisis are supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Verbond van Verzekeraars, the travel industry organization ANVR and various other partners in the world of travel, such as KLM. To this end, the organizations have decided to take the enhanced special foreign assistance approach. The core of this is an arrangement for Dutch travelers stranded abroad who cannot rely on a travel organization or airline. The website on which travelers can register is: www.bijzonderebijstandbuitenland.nl. Emergency centers will then coordinate and organize the necessary air transport for the return.
*) with reservation, these flights are still in preparation
A KLM poster dating from 1951