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Royal Schiphol Group costs KLM “millions” claim

AMSTERDAM: May 04, 2017. KLM reported Q1 2017 revenue of €2.2 billion - a 3.3 percent rise over the same period last year. EBITDA increased €14 million to €132 million. Air France reported 1.2 percent revenue growth to €3.59 billion and an EBITDA of €135 million.

First quarter cargo revenue for Air France-KLM fell 4.7 percent year-on-year to €504 million as the load factor increased one percent to 60.2 percent while freighter capacity declined 14.8 percent.

IATA confirmed the positive trend with March industry figures showing a 14 percent rise in freight tonne kilometers - the fastest level of growth since October 2010 - as capacity increased 4.2 percent year-on-year.

SPL viewAF-KL said it had a target of 3.0-3.5 percent growth in its passenger business for 2017 "in order to regain the offensive in long-haul and to improve the performance in medium-haul".

However according to KLM this combined goal has not been helped by Royal Schiphol Group's decision to issue an additional 9,400 flight slots in March without increasing the number of security staff to handle the inevitable increase in passenger volumes.

This led to significant passenger delays and caused KLM to lose "several million euros [and] damaged the reputation of the airlines, Schiphol and the Netherlands," according to the carrier.

KLM said it had warned Schiphol's management "in vain" about the consequence of "unnecessarily and irresponsibly" increasing investment in shops and hotels, rather than piers, gates and security.

"Having to wait for hours during the May holiday period was disappointing and frustrating for all the passengers concerned," the company continued. "The statements of Schiphol's CEO saying that the peak period could not have been anticipated and that the airlines' forecasts were inaccurate are unbelievable, especially in view of KLM's previous calls," it declared.

Responding to KLM's criticism, Royal Schiphol Group CEO Jos Nijhuis said additional security staff were deployed during the May holiday but conceded "their numbers were not always sufficient".

After assessing the situation the airport group said it had decided to increase the number of security staff "in order to reduce waiting times at the security checkpoints for passengers, and to more effectively cope with passenger peak periods".

Nijhuis declared: "In the end, passengers don't care who or what they are queuing for. That is a shared responsibility, in which Schiphol should take the lead."

An exasperated KLM management added: "Now that Schiphol has finally acknowledged its shortcomings, it is all the more painful to ascertain that it apparently had to come to this before Schiphol's management board finally listens to its customers and says it will assume responsibility."

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