Issue No. 882

Dutch Down

Government Policies Threaten The Future of KLM's Amsterdam Hub

Pushing Back: Inside the Issue

Amid the quiet before earnings season, airlines looked on with unease as oil prices marched upward again. The pronouncement of an OPEC supply cut has Brent crude flirting with the $100 per barrel mark, never a good sign for the industry. For the world as a whole, high commodity prices, high interest rates, and high U.S. dollar exchange rates make for what one commentator called an “excitable” macroeconomic situation. A better word might be “combustible.”

Europe and its struggles to replace Russian energy represent one potential economic threat to airlines. Most of Europe’s airlines, though, continue to report strong bookings, especially for leisure routes. The same is true for most airlines around the world, including Asian carriers like Singapore Airlines, which says even routes to Japan and China are starting to see greater activity.

Flight activity, however, will be severely limited at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport in the coming years, a major challenge for KLM as we discuss in this week’s feature story. Next week, get ready for the start of third quarter earnings coverage, beginning with Delta. The Atlanta-based giant gets things started on Thursday.

Airline Weekly Lounge Podcast

What’s the ado with Austin, Cancun, Ho Chi Minh City, Paris Orly, and Riyadh? All of the airports are seeing tremendous growth above pre-pandemic levels. Edward Russell and Jay Shabat discuss why. Plus, Boeing’s 737 Max: the good news and bad news. Listen to this week’s episode to find out. A full archive of the 'Lounge is here.

Weekly Skies

Full flights and busy airports are likely to continue in the U.S. through the end of the year, Wall Street analysts warn. Demand is forecast to remain robust as corporate travel continues to recover, and consumers shift spending back to services — like air travel — after a pandemic switch to goods.

Delta Air Lines and United Airlines could benefit the most from these trends in the fourth quarter, according to a recent report from Raymond James. This is not to say that revenues will weaken at other U.S. airlines, including American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, but more because Delta and United are more exposed to markets where the recovery has been slow but accelerated in recent months as more people return to offices and international markets reopen.

“It appears there is greater demand recovery among large corporates and in the northeast in particular, which along with gradual reopening of long-haul international markets likely places [United] and [Delta] in a relatively stronger position in terms of revenue recovery,” Raymond James analyst Savanthi Syth wrote.

New booking data from J.P. Morgan appears to confirm this view. In September, booked revenue for the fourth quarter was “comfortably ahead of 2019” at American and United, analyst Jamie Baker wrote October 6. He added that Delta is expected to see similar trends.

A third point, and one beneficial to airlines, is consumers’ continued shift back to spending more on services. Melius Research analyst Conor Cunningham wrote October 6 that roughly 66 percent of consumer spending was on services in August compared to roughly 69 percent before Covid. He expects the percentage to revert to the pre-crisis norm in the months ahead.

“This is an important theme as it speaks on steadily improving demand for travel given a shift in spending habits,” wrote Cunningham.

These points are all good news for U.S. airlines as they near a full recovery from the pandemic. Most are expected to report strong results in the third quarter when travel demand was strong but capacity constraints — from staffing issues to air traffic control limits and aircraft delivery delays — kept airfares high. In September, United raised its third quarter revenue forecast a point to up roughly 12 percent compared to 2019, and Southwest honed its guidance to up 9-11 percent. And JetBlue Airways raised its unit revenue forecast by as much as three points to up 22-24 percent year-over-three-years.

“We are seeing some really great leisure strength into the fall,” JetBlue President Joanna Geraghty said at the Skift Global Forum in September. She added that corporate demand, particularly to and from New York, was also on the rise.

U.S. carriers are widely expected to report profits, though not record profits, in the third quarter. This follows similarly strong financial performance in the second.

But inflationary and other macroeconomic pressures are weighing on U.S. airlines even with robust demand. Costs are rising at accelerated levels driven, in part, due to the run up in labor expenses needed to address staffing issues. High fuel prices are also an issue; though these have eased somewhat with the recent declines in the cost of Brent crude. After peaking at over $129 per barrel in June, Brent spot prices closed at $94.42 per gallon on October 6. It is unclear yet how the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ decision this week to cut production rates will impact jet fuel prices.

Cowen & Co. analyst Helane Becker wrote on October 6 that she is watching closely how much airlines are recapturing higher expenses through higher airfares. Other items to watch include whether the number of leisure travelers buying up to premium seats and products is holding, and the pace of the corporate travel recovery since Labor Day in early September.

“We expect cautious optimism with a hefty dose of concern due to inflationary pressures on costs,” Becker wrote on her outlook for U.S. airlines’ third quarter calls.

Delta is the first to report third quarter results, coming this week on October 13.

Edward Russell

Startups Flyr, Norse Atlantic Face Long Winter

Flyr and Norse Atlantic Airways, two European startups that launched during the pandemic, are facing a colder winter than normal. While Europe has long been known for significant seasonal demand shifts between summer and winter, the addition of high energy costs, inflation, and resurgent competitors appears to be challenging these new airlines.

Flyr, a Norway-based startup that took off in June 2021, said last week that it would cut its winter schedule drastically. Instead of flying a planned 12 aircraft, the airline will operate just five or six and suspend flights to all but a few key markets — including Alicante, Barcelona, Paris, and Rome — of the 27 destinations it served in September. The cuts, plus involuntary staff furloughs, aim to reduce expenses by half this winter and minimize cash burn to 400 million Norwegian kroner ($38 million). On top of the macroeconomic issues, Flyr CEO Tonje Wikstrøm Frislid said competition with legacy carriers, an age old challenge for any startup, was also challenging.

“It has taken longer than expected to build loyalty among business travelers on domestic routes in Norway, where the incumbent carriers maintain large market shares,” he said.

At Norse, the airline will suspend its flights to Los Angeles from Berlin and Oslo for the winter; two routes that it previously planned to fly year round. The cuts amount to a 28 percent reduction to planned capacity for the November-through-March period, according to Diio by Cirium schedules.

“The winter season is historically more challenging for the industry and this year faces the additional burden of high fuel prices, increasing inflation in the markets that we operate and uncertainty in overall demand,” a Norse spokesperson said. “We have taken action to trim certain frequencies from Oslo and Berlin to the U.S…. The routes that we will continue to operate throughout the winter schedule are in strong demand.”

Flyr lost nearly $61 million and Norse $51 million in the first half of 2022, according to their latest available financial data. However, the latter only began flying in June.

The cuts come as many more established European airlines indicate surprisingly resilient travel demand despite the seasonal and economic pressures. Norwegian Air CEO Geir Karlsen said on October 6 that in September the airline, a direct competitor of Flyr, saw “particularly high demand for international destinations” and a full recovery in corporate travel. He added that, as expected, the airline saw lower demand in the winter but within its forecast. Norwegian Air previously said it would seasonally reduce winter capacity by up to 28 percent compared to the summer.

And Wizz Air CEO Josef Varadi said at a Eurocontrol event on October 4 that European air travel “demand [was] surpassing previous levels.” The discounter was the fifth largest airline in Europe in terms of seats from January through September, Diio data show.

Even SAS, in a guidance update on September 30, said it expects passenger numbers to continue to recover to 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels during the first half of its 2023 fiscal year, or the winter November-to-April 2023 period. The legacy carrier, which is restructuring in U.S. Chapter 11, also said leisure demand was robust while corporate demand was returning at a slower pace.

“We expect a stronger demand/fare environment, as leisure demand continues to be more resilient than previously expected, particularly related to peak holiday travel,” Raymond James analyst Savanthi Syth wrote on the European outlook last week. She noted that macroeconomic factors, including energy prices and inflation, could weigh on profitability even as travel demand remains robust.

Other European startups also appear to be in a better situation than Flyr and Norse. Play Airlines CEO Birgir Jónsson said on October 7 that winter ticket “sales over the past weeks have been strong,” even with the seasonal slowdown and economic uncertainty. The carrier is continuing with its fleet growth plans to support additional flying next summer, including new service to Washington Dulles. Play launched in June 2021.

Edward Russell

South Africa’s Airlink Acquires Stake in FlyNamibia

Southern Africa remains an aviation market in flux with South African regional Airlink inking a deal for FlyNamibia, and long struggling South African Airways defending itself against questions over its future.

Airlink will buy 40 percent of FlyNamibia, Namibia’s only operating scheduled domestic airline, under a deal unveiled at the end of September that aims to expand air service both within and to the Southern African country. The deal will bring the two carriers closer together with all FlyNamibia flights transitioning to using Airlink’s IATA code — 4Z — in an effort to boost sales and improve international connectivity, particularly with Airlink’s expansive list of global partners. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

In the past two years, Airlink has signed new codeshares with global giants Emirates, Qatar Airways, and United.

The expansion comes as questions mount over the future of South Africa’s flag carrier, SAA. On September 29, the carrier released a statement saying it was not at risk of losing key international route authorities despite many being dormant since it suspended operations early in the pandemic. The airline has only flown nine routes — six within its namesake country, and three regionally — since it resumed flights in September 2021. South African Airways will resume two more routes in November: Johannesburg to Victoria Falls, and Windhoek, Diio schedules show.

“SAA management assures that there is a variety of resources within the company and the global aviation industry that can be innovatively exploited for the future success of SAA. We assure our customers and all our stakeholders and partners that there are no plans, nor an intention to see South African Airways liquidated,” SAA Executive Chairman John Lamola said earlier in September in response to questions over the airlines’ long-term viability.

The questions over SAA’s future surround the potential sale of a stake in the carrier to a private equity firm. Lamola described progress on the deal as “beset with delays” citing legal requirements put in place by the South African government, but that the airline aims to conclude it by March.

The moves come just over four months after South Africa’s second largest airline, Comair, closed its doors. In the second half of 2022, every remaining carrier in the country has gained share compared to the first half: market leader Safair 20 points for a dominant nearly 60 percent share, Airlink 4 points for 20 percent, and South African Airways 7 points for 15 percent, according to Diio. Overall, seat capacity in South Africa is down 12 percent in the second half of the year compared to the first half; and 38 percent compared to 2019.

The plight of South African Airways highlights the fact that the change in African aviation is not over. Airlink’s purchase of FlyNamibia is one such change. To be clear, FlyNamibia is a niche player in Africa providing mainly domestic flights in its namesake country; state-owned Air Namibia shut down in 2021. Airlink and FlyNamibia’s partnership is emblematic of the increasing cross-border airline cooperation — and consolidation — underway across the continent. This cooperation is largely seen as a way to maybe, finally realize the seemingly perennially unrealized airline potential in Africa.

In just the past month, African aviation leader Ethiopian Airlines was selected as the preferred bidder for a new Nigerian airline, Nigeria Air. And Air Arabia unveiled plans to launch a new subsidiary in Sudan named, aptly, Air Arabia Sudan. These deals, and Airlink’s own for FlyNamibia, come almost a year after SAA and Kenya Airways unveiled their own partnership — a deal that, as yet, hasn’t shown much progress.

But each deal faces its own challenges. Nigeria has bedeviled many other airlines, and entrepreneurs, prior to Ethiopian. There are armed conflicts in both Ethiopia and Sudan. And, as for SAA and Kenya Airways, there is no guarantee that joining two troubled airlines with years of state — and political — intervention is a recipe for success.

In terms of Airlink and FlyNamibia, the deal was described by executives of both airlines as supporting Namibia’s economic growth, and about more than just creating a larger airline. FlyNamibia Managing Director Andre Compion spoke of the larger carrier being better able to serve the country’s expanding resource industry, and returning tourists.

Edward Russell

In Other News

  • Airlines from most parts of the world continue to report strong traffic and load factor gains as travel demand recovers. Ryanair, for one, said load factors for September reached 94 percent, up 13 points from a year earlier. The carrier flew about 89,000 flights during the month, carrying about 16 million passengers. Singapore Airlines, Ryanair’s polar opposite in terms of service, said “customers are especially keen on destinations that have remained largely closed over the last few years.” That means, specifically, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and mainland China, for which forward demand appears strong for the year-end holiday season. In Mexico, meanwhile, the LCC Volaris issued the following statement: “Load factor reached a monthly record for September as demand remained strong. Forward bookings are solid, and we expect to maintain a strong load factor for the remainder of the year.”
  • London Heathrow is not extending its capacity caps beyond October, according to the airport. While some restrictions remain in place, reports indicate that they will be removed as well except during the peak holiday travel periods. Either way, airlines benefit from a regime that has been in place for several months, which has allowed them to plan their schedules and avoid the sudden changes that occurred over the summer.
  • A big step in the massive terminal modernization project at Chicago O’Hare will take place on October 12. Delta will move to Terminal 5 from Terminal 2, an early step in the phased expansion project. While United and Alaska Airlines will initially take over Delta’s former gates, the move opens space for the eventual demolition of Terminal 2 and construction of a new “global” terminal and two new satellite concourses.
  • Pilots at the Lufthansa Group’s budget arm, Eurowings, struck on October 6. The airline cancelled roughly half of its just over 500 flights scheduled for the day. Pilots union Vereinigung Cockpit said talks over wage increases with the airline had “failed.” The strike came a month after pilots at Lufthansa, which are also represented by VC, also struck in a wage dispute.
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published its latest monthly jobs report, always closely watched by Wall Street, Washington, and Corporate America. It showed the addition of 2,800 new jobs in air transportation during September, compared to August. That was about 1 percent of the overall new jobs created throughout the U.S. economy last month.

Edward Russell & Jay Shabat

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Fleet

  • Another win in the small mainline narrowbody market for Airbus. Croatia Airlines will simplify its fleet with the A220 over the next four years with an initial order for six aircraft. The carrier operates 13 aircraft, including seven A319s and A320s, and six De Havilland Dash 8-400s, according to its website. All of those aircraft will be replaced by A220s by 2026. Croatia will join AirBaltic among all-A220 operators in Europe; Air France, ITA Airways, and Swiss Air also operate or have committed to the type.
  • Oman-based SalamAir has ordered six firm Embraer E195-E2s plus six options. Deliveries will begin in late 2023. SalamAir operates an all-Airbus A320neo family fleet currently.
  • SAS has made progress with lessors on new terms for its fleet. The airline, which is restructuring under U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy, has amended agreements with 10 lessors on 36 aircraft, including 33 narrowbodies and three widebodies. AerCap was one of the lessors who agreed to new terms for six A320s it has at SAS. The carrier aims to cut its annual fleet expenses by 850 million to 1 billion Swedish kroner ($78-91 million) through its restructuring. As recently as August, CEO Anko Van der Werff named lessors as being a key sticking point in SAS’s restructuring.

Edward Russell

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Routes and Networks

  • Another new, rather returning, transatlantic route for Aer Lingus: The International Airlines Group carrier will return to Hartford from Dublin on March 26 after a three-year hiatus. The announcement comes a week after Aer Lingus unveiled new service to Cleveland. The addition of the two smaller cities to the Aer Lingus network confirms IAG’s strategy to turn Dublin, which benefits from U.S. preclearance facilities, into a European gateway for second-tier cities.
  • Air Canada is cozying up to United. After unveiling plans for a transborder joint venture in July, the Canadian carrier will add two routes to United hubs in December: Halifax to Newark, and Vancouver to Houston Bush. While neither is an out-of-the-box route — United flew the Halifax route until 2020, and flies the Vancouver route to this day, per Diio by Cirium — both connect key nodes in each airlines’ networks. Expect more of this if Air Canada and United’s pact gets the OK.
  • Delta has cut three routes, and added one. The carrier will end daily flights between Detroit and South Bend, and New York LaGuardia and Northwest Arkansas on November 7 and 8, respectively; and has dropped plans to resume Boston-Bangor flights in May, per Diio. At the same time, it will launch a new daily flight between Boston and Rochester, N.Y., with an Airbus A319 on November 9.
  • Alaska has dropped four routes that it deemed as “not major” markets for its travelers. Gone are nonstops from Los Angeles to Austin on January 8, and Salt Lake City on November 29; Austin — a 2022 all-star — to Palm Springs; and San Diego to Santa Barbara, per Diio. The latter two routes were seasonal and will not resume as planned this winter and spring.
  • And in the latest fallout from the Ukraine war, and resulting closure of Russian airspace to western airlines, Virgin Atlantic has decided it will not return to Hong Kong. The carrier cited “significant operational complexities” stemming from the airspace closure for the decision. Virgin Atlantic had served Hong Kong for 30 years; Shanghai will remain as the airline’s only East Asian destination.
  • Avianca has notified Colombia authorities of plans to add 12 new routes, including two new transatlantic flights to Barcelona. The Star Alliance carrier plans to connect Bogotá to Belo Horizonte, Boston, Cuzco with continuing service to La Paz, Bolivia, and Manaus; Cali to Barcelona; Cartagena to Guayaquil; and Medellin to Barcelona, Guayaquil, Quito, San Juan, and Santo Domingo. All of the routes would be flown with Airbus A320 family aircraft except the Barcelona flights, which would operate with Boeing 787s. The new routes continue Avianca’s post-bankruptcy strategy of diversifying away from its Bogotá by offering more point-to-point routes to compete with ultra low-cost carriers.
  • Route tidbits: Ryanair will connect Shannon to Béziers, France, and Newcastle in its summer 2023 schedule, which begins in March. Frontier Airlines will connect Montego Bay to Chicago Midway, Denver, and St. Louis from February. And Spirit Airlines will add Norfolk, Va., to its map with daily nonstops to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando from March 8.

Edward Russell

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Feature Story

For KLM, there’s no time like the present. The problem is the future.

During the second quarter, no European airline performed better. KLM by itself, excluding its sister airlines Air France and Transavia, earned a hearty 9.4 percent operating margin. Not even Swiss Air or Ryanair did quite that well. KLM’s springtime success enabled it to repay more than $1 billion borrowed from banks and the Dutch government during the two-year-long Covid crisis. During the second quarter, furthermore, it stopped receiving government payroll support (though it does still owe a lot in deferred tax).

Don’t for a second think that KLM’s second quarter was problem-free. High fuel prices, escalating labor costs, Russia’s airspace closure, lost Asian business, low asset utilization — this was no time to celebrate. Operations at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, meanwhile, were an absolute mess during the period. Nevertheless, KLM enjoyed a resurgence in passenger demand while continuing to earn outsized profits from its large cargo operation. In fact, it flew nearly as many cargo ton miles as Air France, despite Air France being the much larger airline. More generally, KLM performed well this spring — and likely this summer — thanks in large part to its Amsterdam hub, one of the world’s best for connecting people and freight to scattered points across the earth.

But just as Schiphol is instrumental to KLM’s success today, the airport — or the Dutch government’s airport policies more precisely — cast a foreboding shadow over the airline’s future. At the moment, KLM’s frustrations are with the airport itself. Unable to properly staff security lanes, Schiphol, in July, imposed a hard cap on the number of passengers carriers are permitted to handle each day. In late September, the airport extended the caps until at least March 2023 (with a possible review in January), evoking the ire of its largest tenant. By KLM’s count, airlines including itself will have to cut their local Amsterdam enplanements by 22 percent this winter season, after an 18 percent cut this summer. KLM called it a “hopeless situation, lacking any perspective.” It alleges the flight caps to date have cost it more than $125 million.

The Dutch airline was already livid about the airport’s imposition of sharply higher charges in the coming years. But KLM and airport at least agree on one thing: Both are equally furious about a new government policy — announced by the Dutch cabinet in June — that caps the number of annual Schiphol flights at 440,000 starting next November. For perspective, the current limit is 500,000, just a tick above the airport’s actual number of flights (497,000) recorded in 2019. In 2018, Schiphol handled more than 499,000 flights, underscoring the point that Amsterdam’s airline market was already held back by the current cap. Now, the airport and KLM will be forced to shrink.

Make no mistake, this poses a meaningful threat to KLM’s longterm prospects. An airline unable to grow is an airline destined to incur higher non-fuel unit costs, especially during times of labor and aircraft inflation, not to mention Schiphol’s escalating charges. Oh, and then there are the higher aviation taxes the government is imposing. If KLM and Amsterdam are two golden geese of the Dutch economy, government officials are doing their utmost to strangle them.

Why? Because of an uncomfortable tradeoff the entire developed world increasingly faces: Use aviation as a tool to foster economic growth, or curtail aviation as a means to fight climate change. In Amsterdam’s case, the matter is also one of noise and overtourism, two quality-of-life issues affecting the city’s residents.  

KLM could, to be clear, still grow passenger and cargo volumes longterm — the government cap pertains to just the number of flights. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic know all about that, living for years with slot controls that have limited London Heathrow flight activity far below demand. Their approach: Larger aircraft enabling more passengers per flight. Look for KLM to take this same approach in response to Schiphol’s new flight caps. It’s already opted for the largest version of the Boeing 787 (the -10) as well as the largest versions of Embraer’s E-Jet-E2 family. The large order it recently placed for Airbus narrowbodies will no doubt include the large A321neo variant. More interestingly, KLM has 31 Boeing 777 widebodies to replace, making it a candidate to buy the next-generation 777X that Boeing is now selling (however unsuccessfully so far). Airbus will surely try and sell KLM some A350-1000s. Don’t forget though: Amsterdam is a much smaller origin and destination market than London — it depends much more on connections, which in turn depends on lots of flights flying in and out from lots of destinations.

British Airways, of course, didn’t just respond to London’s capacity constraints by upgauging. It also shifted growth to sister airlines within International Airlines Group — the infrastructure available for growth in Madrid, Barcelona, and Dublin were key reasons why British Airways, and later IAG, merged with or purchased Iberia, Vueling, and Aer Lingus, respectively. KLM could similarly see growth shifted to Paris, despite the Air France-KLM’s preference for Amsterdam, which does after all produce higher profit margins. Growing Transavia from bases other than Amsterdam will likely become a priority for the group as well. The government did propose opening nearby Lelystad airport to commercial flights, as an alternative to Schiphol for low-cost and charter shorthaul flights. But any decision on that was postponed until at least 2024.  

Oddly enough, Schiphol is expanding its infrastructure. It’s constructing a new concourse, albeit behind schedule, featuring seven new gates technologically equipped to handle up to eleven aircraft simultaneously. The ballooning cost of the project, incidentally, is a reason why Schiphol feels the need to raise its airline fees. Schiphol certainly doesn’t have a Heathrow-like runway shortage; it has six of them. KLM’s longterm dilemma, alas, is not infrastructure. It’s government policy.  

After the government’s flight cap pronouncement in June, KLM immediately warned about the future viability of its hub. Note by the way that Schiphol, largely thanks to KLM’s passenger and cargo flights, was Europe’s busiest airport during much of the pandemic. This was true (not counting Istanbul) as recently as the third week of September, according to the latest Eurocontrol data. And it speaks to the power of KLM’s hub, the utility of which has only increased as carriers around the world removed many of their international nonstops. Without much of a domestic market, KLM does at Amsterdam essentially what Singapore Airlines does in Singapore, or what Emirates does in Dubai. Longtime CEO Pieter Elbers, who recently left to run India’s IndiGo, once gave the example of someone flying from Billund, Denmark, to Little Rock, Arkansas. No airline will ever fly that nonstop, but KLM’s hub can conveniently connect those two cities with one stop. Multiply that by the thousands of other smallish city-pairs that require a connection, and the roots of KLM’s hub success become clear.

With Schiphol-like scale, KLM’s cost of adding a new route becomes less and less relative to the extra revenue it can produce for the whole network. Which is why KLM is so disappointed that it soon won’t be able to make net additions to its route map. Under new CEO Marjan Rintel, KLM is warning the government that flight caps will force it to cut about 30 routes. That’s roughly a fifth of the total it offered this summer. According to De Telegraaf of the Netherlands, destinations KLM might cut include Belgrade and Porto in Europe, along with long- and medium-haul routes to Boston, Edmonton, Guangzhou, Montreal, Osaka, Taipei, Tel Aviv, and Xiamen. As De Telegraaf wrote: “The connecting role between Europe and China that KLM and Schiphol played before the corona crisis seems to have come to an end.” It might soon be writing something similar about more than just the Europe-China market.

KLM will perhaps sue to stop the flight cap policy. Assuming it does take effect next year, however, the whole Air France-KLM group has a major growth problem on its hands. Paris can accommodate growth, but Air France was, is, and likely will forever be a higher-cost airline than KLM. No wonder why the group’s management has been so adamant about growing Transavia — even at the risk of a nuclear-grade confrontation with pilots. And no wonder why executives seem so keen on consolidation. They were interested in Spain’s Air Europa, for example, sensing growth opportunities in Latin America. And now they appear interested in Brazilian champion TAP Air Portugal, its own Lisbon growth obstacles notwithstanding.   

In sum, KLM is producing muscular profits today, albeit squeezed by temporary airport constraints. Tomorrow, those profits could disappear altogether, erased by a government policy that could cripple its hub, one of the world’s best.

Jay Shabat

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By the Numbers

(Schiphol Airport)
  • Flight activity at Amsterdam Schiphol was already flirting with the current cap in the years leading up to the pandemic
  • The new limit coming next year will cap flight activity at Schiphol at around 2014 levels
  • Year-to-date through August, there were 263,236 flight movements at Schiphol, still far below 2019 levels

Jay Shabat

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