Positive third quarter for KLM despite facing challenges


In the third quarter of 2023, KLM generated operational profits of €539 million against a turnover of €3.425 billion. This represents an increase in comparison with last year’s figures. Although the total number of flights operated worldwide has yet to reach pre-Covid levels, people are still keen to travel by air. Combined, these factors led to positive results. 

In comparison with pre-Covid figures, capacity reached nearly 90% as a result of labour market scarcity and protracted delivery times for aircraft components. 

KLM welcomed 8.4 million passengers on board during the third quarter, which includes the summer holiday season. Similarly, Transavia carried around 2.9 million travellers. 

We achieved favourable financial figures for the third quarter because our customers are keen to travel. However, the first nine months of the year were not without a fair share of hurdles. Ongoing problems with the delivery times of parts worldwide and the still-tight labour market mean that we cannot solve the bottlenecks that arose during corona as quickly as we would have liked. What’s more, uncertainties are now threatening the future of Schiphol and Dutch aviation. We’re maintaining course at KLM. We will be operating cleaner, quieter and more efficient flights and therefore placed a billion-dollar order with Airbus in September for brand-new A350s to replace the older aircraft in our fleet. We stand for a well-connected Netherlands and continue to invest in achieving this objective, which enjoys commitment from everyone at KLM. We also need clear and stable government policy to support this.

Marjan Rintel - CEO KLM

9M figures 

Operational profits amounted to €668 million for the first nine months of the year against a turnover of €9.058 billion. During the same period in 2022, operational profits amounted to €708 million (including €138 million under the governmental emergency job-retention scheme – NOW) against a turnover of €7.921 billion.  

Cargo demand dropped following its peak during the pandemic. Engineering & Maintenance is still experiencing worldwide supply chain problems, but is performing in line with expectations. Transavia performed very well during summer, serving to offset losses caused by fleet problems earlier this year. 

We must remain cautious. Pressing geopolitical tensions, signs of recession in the cargo market and rising oil prices make it necessary to focus on cost control and increased efficiency. At the same time, investments are necessary in order to achieve our objective of operating cleaner, quieter and more efficient flights. For this reason, we’ve initiated a programme aimed at achieving a structural, annual improvement of €700 million in terms of margins. We will be cutting costs and working more efficiently and effectively to achieve this.

Erik Swelheim - CFO KLM