Blaming new coronavirus testing requirements under Dutch law, KLM will reportedly suspend all longhaul flights, totally 270 weekly flights.
KLM To Suspend All Longhaul + Intercontinental Flights
Dutch law now requires that all international travelers, including Dutch citizens, take a rapid COVID-19 test no later than four hours prior to departure when coming from “high risk” areas. Furthermore, all passengers now require a negative COVID-19 PCR test no more than 72 hours prior to departure.
That’s not all. Crew are not exempted, meaning crew members unable to test or who test positive would be left behind. This, says KLM, is unacceptable.
“We don’t want to run the risk of crews getting stuck in a distant country if they test positive. So from Friday, we will stop all intercontinental flights and all flights to European destinations where crews have to stay overnight.”
That statement is according to Reuters, which has now removed it from its story, but still reports longhaul flights will be cancelled along with any European flight which requires crews to remain overnight. KLM has not responded to additional media inquiries, including from Live and Let’s Fly.
The Dutch, who shied away from obligatory masks far longer than most nations, will block travel from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and all of South America starting tomorrow, Saturday, January 23rd. Overnight curfews in the Netherlands have also been introduced and even incoming passengers from the Schengen Area now require a negative COVID-19 test.
KLM also announced it would cut another 800-1,000 jobs. 5,000 jobs have already been cut. Should the new government restrictions be long-term, even more job losses could result.
Despite widespread reporting by the Dutch media about the suspension of all longhaul service, longhaul flights do appear to be operating today.
KLM will reportedly suspend all intercontinental service as a result strict new testing requirements from the Dutch government. Thus far, however, intercontinental flights continue to operate today. Those passengers impacted by the flight cancellations will receive refunds or may be eligible for re-booking KLM’s joint venture partners including Air France, Delta, and Virgin Atlantic.