Issue No. 866

Elbers Exits KLM

Pieter Elbers Leaves KLM After 30 Years for the Excitement of IndiGo

Pushing Back: Inside the Issue

Two years ago, industry analysts warned that airlines without domestic markets would be the first in a wave of airline bankruptcies and liquidations — then thought likely — due to the standstill caused by the pandemic. The wave of bankruptcies never really gained the magnitude originally feared, thanks in degrees that varied by region to government support and innovative pivots. And those airlines without domestic markets? Many have thrived, proving the enduring strength of a well-designed hub, according to Pieter Elbers, chief executive of one such airline. Elbers reflected on his 30 years at KLM, the pandemic, and the state of the European airline industry in an interview last week as he prepares to leave for the helm of IndiGo.

Elsewhere in this issue, several U.S. airlines see dollar signs from the combination of reduced capacity and high demand for travel, and are upping their second-quarter guidance. Iberia's CEO explains why the carrier is one of IAG's crown jewels. And our reporter in Kenya examines why Africa's state-owned carriers are holding the continent's aviation market back.

The Airline Weekly Lounge Podcast

Delta now forecasts its summer revenues will outpace 2019, a significant milestone in the U.S. airline industry’s recovery. But all is not golden as costs, particularly fuel, are rising as well. Edward “Ned” Russell and Madhu Unnikrishnan also discuss SAS’ threat of a potential bankruptcy restructuring and Pieter Elbers’ exit from KLM. Listen to this week’s episode to find out. A full archive of the 'Lounge is here.

Weekly Skies

Iberia is leading the recovery at International Airlines Group (IAG). The carrier continues to outperform its group peers in terms of the financial recovery, but CEO Javier Sánchez-Prieto does not see that as a signal to rest on his laurels as the…


Norwegian Air is getting a fleet refresh! The relaunched budget carrier has ordered 50 Boeing 737 Max 8s with options for 30 more. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2025 and continue through 2028. The final ownership structure has yet…

Routes and Networks

Ethiopian Airlines will add its fourth destination in India, Chennai, this summer. The carrier will offer thrice-weekly flights from its Addis Ababa base with Boeing 737-8 aircraft from July 2. Chennai joins Bangalore, Delhi, and Mumbai in Ethiopian's Indian network.Turkish…

Landing Strip

Even before the pandemic began two years ago, American Airlines was committed to building its two largest hubs in Charlotte and Dallas-Fort Worth. That commitment has only grown. The availability of new gates — four today in Dallas, perhaps five…

Feature Story

At the start of the pandemic and through 2020 and much of 2021, industry observers predicted airlines without domestic markets — like Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, KLM, and Singapore Airlines — would struggle to regain their pre-pandemic markets, and that…