KLM will compete with holiday giants

SCHIPHOL - KLM opens the attack on package holidays. As soon as the travel advice for tourists has been relaxed, their own travel organization "KLM Holidays" will be launched.

Package tours are flight, transfer, hotel and possibly excursions and car rental in one. KLM now wants to be in the top 3 tour operators for flight holidays.

According to ANP, the travel world speaks of unfair competition, because KLM receives billions in aid in government loans to survive corona.

According to a report from Reuters, KLM has bought a significant share in Airtrade, a Dutch airline ticket consolidation and tourism package specialist. The acquisition will allow KLM to quickly expand its travel package offerings without building more of its own infrastructure. Airtrade is the leading airline consolidator in the Benelux Union (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg).

The new arm will be known as “KLM Holidays” when it launches and will boost KLM’s existing ‘Flight & Hotel’ deal offerings. In a statement, KLM Netherlands director Harm Kreulen laid out a high bar for the new company, saying, “We want to be among the top three tour operators for flight holidays.”

Investing in a holiday package company during the pandemic might seem odd considering KLM is losing hundreds of millions. However, the move signals that KLM expects holiday traffic to come roaring back as vaccines take effect. And when it does, the Dutch carrier wants to be at the center of the aviation recovery.

However, it still remains unclear when international travel can safely reopen, both within Europe and outside. While vaccinations are now available across the continent, governments have struggled to reach population targets. For now, vaccines remain in too short a supply for airlines to formally plot a recovery plan.

Any recovery will depend on COVID-19 vaccines being readily available to the local populations. Photo: Getty Images

Many airlines are holding their breath for travel to resume by the lucrative summer season. If travel were to reopen by summer, airlines could see a bump in revenues quickly. However, as Europe remains in lockdown, it is difficult to predict when travel will be safe again.

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