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Royal Dutch Airlines
Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij
Founded 7 October 1919 (1919-10-07)
Hubs Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Frequent-flyer program Flying Blue
Airport lounge
  • KLM Crown Lounge
  • SkyTeam Lounge
Alliance SkyTeam
Fleet size 115 +35 on order (excl. subsidiaries)
Destinations 138
Company slogan "Journeys of Inspiration"
Parent company Air France-KLM
Headquarters Amstelveen, Netherlands
Key people Albert Plesman (Founder)
Pieter Elbers (President & CEO)[1]
Revenue €9.688 billion (2013)[2]
Operating income €301 million (2013)[3]
Employees 32,505 (2013)[3]

Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij N.V. (Royal Dutch Airlines), best known by its initials KLM, is the flag carrier airline of the Netherlands. KLM's headquarters is in Amstelveen near its hub at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. KLM operates scheduled passenger and cargo services to more than 90 destinations worldwide. It is the oldest airline in the world still operating under its original name. As of 2013 it had 32,505 employees.[4]

The merger of KLM with Air France in May 2004 formed the Air France-KLM Group, which is incorporated under French law with headquarters at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. Both Air France and KLM continue to fly under their distinct brand names as subsidiaries of the group. Air France and KLM are part of the SkyTeam alliance, the second largest in the world behind only the Star Alliance.


  • History 1
    • Formation and early years 1.1
      • Second World War 1.1.1
      • Post-World War II 1.1.2
    • Jet age 1.2
    • 1980s and 1990s 1.3
    • Joint-venture 1.4
    • Air France–KLM merger 1.5
    • Recent developments 1.6
  • Corporate affairs and identity 2
    • Management 2.1
      • Head office 2.1.1
      • Subsidiaries 2.1.2
      • Former subsidiaries 2.1.3
      • KLM Asia 2.1.4
    • Branding 2.2
      • Livery and uniforms 2.2.1
      • Marketing slogans 2.2.2
    • Social media 2.3
  • Destinations 3
    • Codeshare agreements 3.1
  • Fleet 4
    • Fleet history 4.1
  • Cabin 5
    • World Business Class 5.1
    • Europe Business Class 5.2
    • Economy Comfort 5.3
    • Economy Class 5.4
  • Services 6
    • In-flight entertainment 6.1
    • Catering 6.2
    • Delft Blue houses 6.3
    • Ground services 6.4
    • Flying Blue 6.5
  • Incidents and accidents 7
    • Fatal accidents 7.1
      • 1920s-1930s 7.1.1
      • 1940s 7.1.2
      • 1950s-1970s 7.1.3
    • Notable incidents without fatalities 7.2
  • Controversies 8
    • Bonuses 8.1
    • Racist tweet 8.2
  • Corporate social responsibility 9
    • Philanthropy 9.1
    • Biofuel 9.2
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


Formation and early years

A KLM poster, probably dating to the late 1920s, after it started service to Jakarta[5]

In 1919, a young aviator lieutenant named Albert Plesman sponsored the ELTA aviation exhibition in Amsterdam. This aviation exhibition was a great success, and, after closure, several Dutch commercial interests had the intention to establish a Dutch airline. Plesman was nominated to head this new airline.[6] In September 1919, Queen Wilhelmina awarded the yet to be founded KLM its "Royal" ("Koninklijke") predicate.[7] On October 7, 1919, KLM (which is the abbreviation for Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij which literally means Royal Airlines in English) was founded by Albert Plesman in The Hague as one of the world's first commercial airline companies.[6]

The first KLM flight took place on 17 May 1920. KLM's first pilot, Jerry Shaw, flew from Croydon Airport, London to Amsterdam.[7] The flight was flown using a leased Aircraft Transport and Travel De Haviland DH-16,[7] registration G-EALU, and was carrying two British journalists and a number of newspapers. In 1920, KLM carried 440 passengers and 22 tons of freight. In April 1921, after a winter hiatus, KLM resumed its services using its own pilots and aircraft: Fokker F.II and Fokker F.III.[7] In 1921, KLM started scheduled services.

KLM Fokker F-XVIII departing from the Dutch East Indies, 1932.

KLM's first intercontinental flight was initiated on the 1st of October 1924.[7] This flight had Batavia (Colonial Jakarta) on the island Java in the Dutch East Indies as the final destination and was flown by a Fokker F.VII[7] with registration H-NACC and was piloted by Van Der Hoop. In September 1929, regular scheduled services between Amsterdam and Batavia commenced. Until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, this was the world's longest-distance scheduled service by airplane.[7]

By 1926, it was offering flights to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Brussels, Paris, London, Bremen, Copenhagen, and Malmö, using primarily Fokker F2 & Fokker F.III.[8]

KLM's Douglas DC-2 aircraft Uiver after placing second in the MacRobertson Air Race from RAF Mildenhall, England, to Melbourne in 1934

In 1930, KLM carried 15,143 passengers. The Douglas DC-2 was introduced on the Batavia service in 1934.

The first experimental transatlantic KLM flight was between Amsterdam and Curaçao in December 1934 using the Fokker F-XVIII "Snip".[7] The first of the airline's Douglas DC-3 aircraft were delivered in 1936, and these replaced the DC-2s on the service via Batavia to Sydney. KLM was the first airline to serve Manchester's new Ringway airport, starting June 1938. KLM was the only civilian airline to operate the Douglas DC-5, using four of them in the Dutch East and West Indies between May 1940 and late 1941.

Revenue Passenger-Kilometers, scheduled flights only, in millions
Year Traffic
1947 454
1950 766
1955 1,485
1960 2,660
1965 3,342
1971 6,330
1975 10,077
1980 14,058
1985 18,039
1995 44,458
Source: ICAO Digest of Statistics for 1947–55, IATA World Air Transport Statistics 1960–1995

Second World War

When German military forces invaded the Netherlands on 10 May 1940, a number of KLM aircraft (mostly DC-3s and a few DC-2s) were en route to or from the Far East or operating services in Europe. Five DC-3s and one DC-2 managed to escape to England. During the war, these KLM planes and crew members would fly the infamous Bristol-Lisbon scheduled passenger flights under BOAC registration.

The Douglas DC-3 PH-ALI 'Ibis', then registered as G-AGBB, was attacked three times by the Luftwaffe: on 15 November 1942, 19 April 1943, and finally on 1 June 1943 (fatal to passengers and crew, see BOAC Flight 777). Some KLM aircraft with their crews ended up in the Australia-Indonesia region, where they aided in transporting people who were escaping the Japanese aggression in that area.

Post-World War II

After the ending of the Second World War in the fall of 1945, KLM immediately started to rebuild its network. Since the Dutch East Indies were in a state of revolt, Plesman's first priority was to reestablish KLM's route to Batavia. This service was reinstated by the end of 1945.[6] Domestic and European flights resumed in September 1945, initially with a fleet of Douglas DC-3s and Douglas DC-4s.[7] On 21 May 1946, KLM was the first continental European airline to start transatlantic scheduled flights between Amsterdam and New York City using Douglas DC-4 aircraft.[7] By 1948, KLM had reconstructed its network and service resumed to Africa, North and South America, and the Caribbean.[6] Long range pressurized Lockheed Constellations and Douglas DC-6s joined KLM's fleet in the late 1940s; the Convair 240 short range pressurized twin engined airliner began European flights for the company in late 1948.

During the immediate postwar period, the Dutch government expressed interest in gaining a majority stake in the airline and thus nationalizing KLM. Plesman, however, wanted KLM to remain a private company under private control and thus only allowed the Dutch government a minority stake in KLM.[6]

In 1950, KLM carried 356,069 passengers. The expansion of the network continued in the 1950s with the addition of several destinations in western North America.[6] KLM's fleet expanded as well with the addition of new versions of the Lockheed Constellation and Lockheed Electra, of which KLM was the first European airline to fly.[6]

On 31 December 1953, the founder and president of KLM, Albert Plesman, died at the age of 64.[9][10] Fons Aler succeeded Albert Plesman as KLM's president.[11] After the death of Plesman, the company and other airlines entered a difficult economic period. The conversion to jet airplanes placed a further financial burden on KLM. Besides all this, the Dutch government increased its ownership of the company to two-thirds, and thus hereby nationalized the airline. The board of directors, however, remained under the control of the private shareholders.[6]

On 25 July 1957, the airline introduced its flight simulator for the Douglas DC-7C – the last KLM aircraft with piston engines – which opened the transpolar route from Amsterdam via Anchorage to Tokyo on 1 November 1958.[7] Each crew flying the transpolar route over the Arctic was equipped with a winter survival kit, including a 7.62 mm selective-fire AR-10 carbine for use against polar bears, in the event the plane was forced down onto the polar ice.[12]

Jet age

Beginning in September 1959, the airline introduced the four-engine turboprop

  • Official website
    • Archives of official website
  • KLM mobile website
  • KLM corporate website
  • Holland Herald in-flight magazine
  • Air France KLM Finance
  • Destination Guide KLM

External links

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  153. ^
  154. ^
  155. ^
  156. ^
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  159. ^ "Biofuel flight to Rio". Retrieved 2012-11-29. 


See also

On 19 June 2012, KLM made the world's first-ever transatlantic KLM flight fueled partly by sustainable biofuels to Rio de Janeiro. This was the longest distance that any aircraft had flown on biofuels.[159]


KLM started KLM AirCares in 1999. KLM AirCares is a programme that aids underprivileged children in developing countries that KLM flies to[157] by collecting money and airmiles from passengers. Since 2012 no new applications for support from the program can be submitted as the program is in need of an overhaul.[158]


Corporate social responsibility

Just after the Dutch completed a dramatic late turnaround against Mexico in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, to win their round of 16 clash 2-1, the airline posted a tweet of an airport departures sign under the heading 'Adios Amigos'. Next to the word Departures was a picture of a man wearing a sombrero and a moustache. The picture went viral although was soon deleted after a social media backlash and an apology was released by the airline.[154][155][156]

Racist tweet

In 2004 senior management came under fire for providing itself with huge bonuses after the merger with Air France and while 4500 jobs were lost at KLM. Only after external pressure management gave up on these bonuses.[153]



  • On 6 November 1946, KLM Douglas DC-3 PH-TBO crashed near Shere as the flight was on approach to Croydon Airport after a flight from Amsterdam. None of the 20 passengers and crew were killed in the accident.[148][149]
  • On 23 March 1952, KLM Lockheed Constellation PH-TFF "Venlo" suffered a propeller failure and subsequent engine fire during landing in Bangkok. All 44 passengers and crew escaped shortly before the fire completely consumed the plane. A Thai ground crewman ran into the burning aircraft and returned with an infant who had been left behind.[150]
  • On 25 November 1973, KLM Boeing 747-206B PH-BUA "Mississippi" operating KLM Flight 861 was hijacked over Iraq by Palestinian terrorists. The plane took off in Amsterdam and was bound for Tokyo. After 70 hours the plane made its final landing in Dubai. The passengers were released earlier in Malta. Everyone survived the hijacking.
  • On 15 December 1989, KLM Boeing 747-400 PH-BFC operating KLM Flight 867 flew through a volcanic plume causing nearly $80 million worth of damage to the then brand-new aircraft. The plane landed in Anchorage, Alaska, with no reported injuries or fatalities.[151][152]
  • On 28 November 2004 KLM Boeing 737-400, PH-BTC operating KLM Flight 1673 had a birdstrike upon rotation from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The plane continued onwards to Barcelona International Airport, where the nose gear collapsed. No injuries or casualties were reported. The aircraft was written off.
  • On 19 April 1943, KLM DC-3 PH-ALI "Ibis" was again attacked by a swarm of six Bf 110 fighters. Captain Koene Dirk Parmentier evaded the attackers by dropping to 50 feet above the ocean and then climbing steeply into the clouds. The aircraft again sustained damage to the port aileron, shrapnel to the fuselage and a fuel tank. A new wingtip was flown to Lisbon to complete repairs. Despite these attacks, BOAC continued to fly the Lisbon–Whitchurch route.
  • On 15 November 1942, KLM DC-3 PH-ALI "Ibis" (which had escaped the Dutch occupation and was operating under lease to BOAC as G-AGBB, and later destroyed in the crash of Flight 777-A) was attacked by a single Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter. The DC-3 was able to land in Lisbon where repairs were carried out. The damage sustained by cannon and machine gun fire included the port wing, engine nacelle and fuselage.
  • On 17 July 1935, KLM DC-2 PH-AKM "Maraboe" crashed near Bushehr, Iran. All occupants were rescued.[147]

Notable incidents without fatalities

  • On 22 March 1952, KLM Douglas DC-6 PH-TBJ "Koningin Juliana" crashed in Frankfurt, killing 42 of the 47 occupants.[145]
  • On 23 August 1954, KLM Douglas DC-6B PH-DFO "Willem Bontekoe" crashed between Shannon and Schiphol in the North Sea, 40 kilometres (25 mi) from IJmuiden. All 21 passengers and crew died.
  • On 5 September 1954, KLM Lockheed Super Constellation PH-LKY "Triton" operating KLM Flight 633 ditched in the River Shannon after takeoff from Shannon Airport, Ireland. 28 of the 56 people on board (46 passengers and 10 crew) were killed.
  • On 14 July 1957, KLM Super Constellation PH-LKT "Neutron" operating KLM Flight 844 crashed in the sea near Biak, after takeoff from Mokmer Airport at Biak on its way to Manila. The pilot made a low farewell pass over the island, but the aircraft lost altitude, crashed into the sea and exploded. Nine crew and 49 passengers died; there were 10 survivors.
  • On 14 August 1958, KLM Lockheed Super Constellation PH-LKM "Hugo de Groot" operating KLM Flight 607-E from Amsterdam to New York via Shannon Airport crashed into the ocean 180 kilometres (110 mi) off the coast of Co. Galway, Ireland. 91 passengers and 8 crew members died.
  • On 25 October 1968, KLM Aerocarto Douglas C-47A PH-DAA flew into Tafelberg Mountain, Suriname, following an engine failure whilst on a survey flight. The aircraft collided with the mountain in cloudy conditions, killing three of the five people on board.[146]
  • On 27 March 1977, KLM Boeing 747-206B PH-BUF operating KLM Flight 4805 and Pan Am Boeing 747–121 N736PA operating Pan Am Flight 1736 collided at Tenerife North Airport, Canary Islands, killing 583 people. The incident has the highest number of on-board fatalities of any single accident in aviation history.


  • On 28 December 1941, KNILM Douglas DC-3 PK-ALN "Nandoe" (formerly KLM PH-ALN) was destroyed on the ground by Japanese fighters at Medan, North Sumatra, Dutch East Indies, killing all crew members and passengers.
  • On 1 June 1943, KLM Douglas DC-3 PH-ALI "Ibis" (which had escaped the Dutch occupation and was operating under lease to BOAC), operating BOAC Flight 777, was shot down by eight German Junkers Ju 88 fighters over the Gulf of Biskay while on the scheduled Lisbon-Bristol route. All thirteen passengers and four KLM crewmembers perished. The same aircraft survived two previous attacks in November 1942 and April 1943.
  • On 14 November 1946, a KLM Douglas C-47 crashed at Schiphol Airport during a failed landing in bad weather. All 21 passengers, including the Dutch writer Herman de Man, and the 5 crew were killed.
  • On 26 January 1947, KLM Douglas Dakota PH-TCR crashed after takeoff from Copenhagen, killing all 22 on board, including Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden.[142]
  • On 20 October 1948, KLM Lockheed Constellation PH-TEN "Nijmegen" crashed near Prestwick, Scotland, killing all 40 aboard.
  • On 23 June 1949, KLM Lockheed Constellation PH-TER "Roermond", piloted by Hans Plesman (the son of CEO Albert Plesman), crashed into the sea off Bari, killing 33 occupants.[143]
  • On 12 July 1949, KLM Lockheed Constellation PH-TDF "Franeker" crashed into a 674-foot (205 m) tall hill in Ghatkopar near Bombay, India, killing all 45 aboard. Thirteen of those killed were American news correspondents.[144]


  • On 24 April 1923, Fokker F.III H-NABS departed Lympne for Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The aircraft was not heard from again. It was presumed to have crashed into the sea, killing the pilot and both passengers.[134]
  • On 22 August 1927, Fokker F.VIII H-NADU crashed near Sevenoaks, England. One crewmember was killed.[135]
  • On 20 December 1934, KLM Douglas DC-2 PH-AJU "Uiver" crashed at Rutbah Wells, Iraq, killing all occupants. It participated in the Mac Robertson Air Race in October 1934 and won the handicap division. It was on its first flight after return from the race and was en route to the Netherlands Indies carrying the Christmas mail when it crashed.[136]
  • On 14 July 1935, KLM Fokker F.XXII PH-AJQ "Kwikstaart" crashed and burned just outside Schiphol, killing four crew and two passengers. 14 other occupants survived.[8]
  • On 20 July 1935, KLM Douglas DC-2 PH-AKG "Gaai" crashed near the San Bernardino Pass near Pian San Giacomo, killing all three crew and all ten passengers.[8]
  • On 9 December 1936, KLM Douglas DC-2 PH-AKL "Lijster" crashed into a house after taking off from Croydon Airport, London. The accident killed 15 of the 17 on board the aircraft.
  • On 3 April 1937, KLM Douglas DC-3 PH-ALP "Pluvier" was being delivered to KLM when it struck Mount Baldy, Arizona, killing all eight on board.[137]
  • On 28 July 1937, KLM Douglas DC-2 PH-ALF "Flamingo" crashed in a field near Beert, Belgium due to an in-flight fire, killing all 15 on board.[138]
  • On 6 October 1937, KLM Douglas DC-3 PH-ALS "Specht" crashed on takeoff from Talang Betoetoe Airport, killing three crew and one passenger; the co-pilot and seven passengers survived.[139]
  • On 14 November 1938, KLM Douglas DC-3 PH-ARY "IJsvogel" struck terrain and crashed near Schiphol Airport for reasons unknown, killing six on 19 on board.[140]
  • On 9 December 1938, KLM Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra PH-APE "Ekster" crashed on takeoff from Schiphol Airport due to engine failure while on a training flight, killing the four crew.[141]


Fatal accidents

The most notable accident involving a KLM aircraft was the 1977 Tenerife disaster. Although this accident led to a lot of fatalities, KLM has one of the best safety records in the world since operating since 1919 and after this accident no KLM flight has led to fatalities.

Incidents and accidents

The Flying Blue programme is divided into four tiers: Ivory, Silver (SkyTeam Elite), Gold (SkyTeam Elite Plus), and Platinum (SkyTeam Elite Plus).[128] The membership tier depends on the number of Level Miles and is redetermined each calendar year. Flying Blue privileges are additive by membership tier, with higher tiers including all benefits listed for prior tiers. There is an additional fifth tier, Platinum for Life, which can be obtained after 10 consecutive years of Platinum membership. After the Platinum for Life status is obtained, re-qualification is never needed again.[129] Level Miles can be earned with Air France, KLM, Air Europa, Kenya Airways, TAROM, and other SkyTeam partners.[124] Qualification levels and general benefits, with SkyTeam airline partners, of the different Flying Blue tiers are as follows:[129][130][131][132][133]

Award Miles can be earned at various Flying Blue partners.[125] Award Miles can be earned on Flying Blue partner airlines such as: Alaska Airlines, Air Corsica, Airlinair, Bangkok Airways, Chalair Aviation, Comair, Copa Airlines, Gol Transportes Aéreos, Japan Airlines, Jet Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, TAAG Angola, Twin Jet, and Ukraine International Airlines, as well as SkyTeam partners.[82] Award Miles are redeemable for free tickets, upgrades to a higher class of service, extra baggage allowance, and lounge access. Award Miles can furthermore be donated to charity, through the KLM AirCares programme,[126] or can be spent in the Flying Blue Store.[127]

Two types of miles can be earned within the Flying Blue frequent flyer programme: Award Miles and Level Miles. Award Miles can be exchanged for rewards and expire after 20 months without flying. Level Miles, on the other hand, are used to determine membership level and remain valid until 31 December of each year.[124]

Air France-KLM's frequent flyer programme, Flying Blue, awards members miles based on the distance travelled, ticket fare and class of service. Other airlines that adopted the Flying Blue programme are Air Europa, Kenya Airways, and TAROM. Miles can be earned as well from all other SkyTeam partners. Membership in the Flying Blue programme is free.

Flying Blue

KLM is the first airline in the world to offer self-service transfer kiosks on its European and intercontinental routes for passengers connecting through Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.[122] The self-service transfer kiosks enable connecting passengers to view flight details of connecting flights, to change seat assignments or upgrade to a more comfortable seat. When a passenger misses a connecting flight, details about alternative flights can be viewed on the kiosk and a new boarding pass can be printed. Furthermore, coupons for a beverage, meal, the use of a telephone, or travel discount can be printed from the kiosk when a passenger is entitled to such coupons.[123]

In November 2012, KLM started a pilot at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to test self-service boarding. The passengers board the aircraft without interference of a gate agent by scanning their boarding pass, which will open a gate. Partner Air France ran the same pilot at its hub at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. The pilot ran until March 2013, which was followed by an evaluation.[121]

Since 4 July 2008 KLM, in cooperation with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, has been a pioneer by offering self-service baggage drop-off to their passengers. The project started with a pilot which included just one drop-off point.[119] However, the number of self-service baggage drop-off points has gradually increased and as of 8 February 2012 there are 12 self-service baggage drop-off points.[120] Together with the self-service check-in kiosks, KLM passengers are now able to check in without any contact with a KLM employee.

KLM offers various check-in methods to their passengers. Passengers are able to check in for their flights at the self-service check-in kiosks at the airport, via the Internet, and via a mobile phone or tablet. Check-in by an airline representative at the counter is provided at destinations where the above-mentioned facilities are not available. Electronic boarding passes can be received at a mobile phone or tablet while boarding passes can be printed at the airport through the kiosks.[117][118]

Ground services

Every year, a new house is presented on 7 October, the anniversary of KLM's founding in 1919.[113] The number on the last presented house thus represents the number of years KLM has been in operation. There are various special edition houses which are offered to special guests (like VIPs or honeymoon couples). These special edition houses are the Dutch Royal Palace and the 17th century Cheese Weighing House De Waag in Gouda.[115]

KLM started to hand out the houses in 1952 to its First Class passengers. However, with the elimination of First Class in 1993, the houses were instead handed out to all Business Class passengers.[115] The impetus for these houses was a rule aimed at curtailing a previously widespread practice of offering significant incentives to passengers by limiting the value of gifts given by airlines to .75 US cents. KLM did not bill the Delft Blue Houses as a gift, but rather as a last drink on the house, which was served in the house.[115][116]

Since the 1950s, KLM presents all of its World Business Class passengers with a unique gift: a Delft blue miniature traditional Dutch house. These miniatures are reproductions of real Dutch houses and are filled with Dutch gin, genever.[113] The houses, however, have not always been filled with genever: initially the houses were filled with Bols liqueur, while in 1986 the switch was made to Bols young genever.[114]

Selection of KLM Delft Blue Houses

Delft Blue houses

Special meal offerings can be requested in each class up to 24 or 36 hours prior to departure. Special meals include children's, vegetarian, medical, and religious meals.[111] On flights to the Asian countries of India, China, South Korea, and Japan, KLM offers authentic Asian meals in all classes as one of the choices.[104] Meals served on KLM flights departing from Amsterdam are provided by KLM subsidiary KLM Catering Services.[112]

Economy Class passengers on long-haul flights are served a hot meal service and a snack, second hot meal or breakfast, depending on the duration of the flight. On short-haul flights, passengers are served sandwiches or a choice between sweet or savory snack, depending on the duration and time of the day. If the flight is at least 2 hours long, "stroopkoekje" cookies will be served before descent. Most alcoholic beverages are free of charge on KLM flights for all passengers. After a successful trial period, KLM introduced à la carte meals in Economy Class at 14 September 2011, with a variety of five à la carte meals available: Dutch, Japanese, Italian, cold delicacies, and Indonesian.[109][110] By May 2014, the available à la carte meals are: Captain's choice, Champagne delight, Japanese delight, Bella Italia and indonesian rice dishes.

World Business Class passengers are served a three course meal. Each year KLM partners with a leading Dutch chef in order to develop the dishes that are served on board. Passengers in Europe Business Class are served either a cold meal, hot main course, or three course meal depending on the duration of the flight.[106] All chicken served in World and Europe Business Class meets the standards of the Dutch Beter Leven Keurmerk (Better Life Quality Mark).[107] KLM partnered with Dutch designer Marcel Wanders to design the tableware of World and European Business Class.[108]


On 29 May 2013, KLM and Air France launched a pilot to test inflight Wi-Fi. Both airlines have equipped one Boeing 777-300ER of each of their fleets with Wi-Fi. Using the inflight Wi-Fi, passengers can stay online using their Wi-Fi enabled smartphones, laptops, or tablets. Wireless service will commence once the flight has reached 20,000 feet.[105]

KLM provides a selection of international newspapers to their passengers on all long-haul flights, while newspapers on short-haul flights are only offered to Europe Business Class passengers. In addition, a selection of international magazines is available for World Business Class passengers on long-haul flights.[102] All passengers are provided with KLM's in-flight magazine, the Holland Herald.[103] On board flights to China, South Korea and Japan, the in-flight magazines EuroSky (China and Japan), in either Chinese or Japanese, and Wings of Europe (South Korea), in Korean, are offered.[104]

KLM's in-flight entertainment system is available in all classes on all widebody aircraft and provides all passengers with Audio/Video on Demand (AVOD). The system includes over 1000 hours of interactive entertainment, including movies, TV programmes, music, games, and language courses. In total more than 80 movies including recent releases, classics and world cinema are available. Movies can be viewed in several of languages: Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish. The selection is changed every month.[99] The in-flight entertainment system can also be used to send SMS text messages and emails to the ground. Panasonic's 3000i system is installed on all Boeing 747-400, Boeing 777-200ER, and on most of the Airbus A330-200 aircraft.[100] All Airbus A330-300 and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, as well as some Airbus A330-200 aircraft, are fitted with the Panasonic eX2 in-flight entertainment system.[101] No in-flight entertainment system is available in KLM's and KLM Cityhopper's narrowbody aircraft.

In-flight entertainment


The last major interior refurbishment of KLM's Economy Class took place in 2010 when interior refurbishment of its Boeing 747-400 fleet was complete. During this interior refurbishment, the old Economy Class seats were replaced by the new Economy Class seats which feature more legroom as well as the new in-flight entertainment system. By finishing this refurbishment, Economy Class now features a consistent product across the complete widebody fleet.

The Economy Class seats on long-haul flights have a 31-to-32-inch (79–81 cm) pitch and are 17.5 inches (44 cm) wide.[91][96] All seats are equipped with adjustable winged headrests, a 9-inch (23 cm) PTV with AVOD, and a personal handset satellite telephone which can be used with a credit card. Economy Class seats in Airbus A330-300 aircraft are equipped with in-seat power as well.[91] The Economy Class seats on short-haul flights have a 30-to-31-inch (76–79 cm) pitch and are 17 inches (43 cm) wide.[91][96] The Economy Class seats on short-haul flights do not feature any personal entertainment. The long-haul Economy Class seating is in a 3–4–3 abreast arrangement on the Boeing 747-400 and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, a 3–3–3 abreast arrangement on Boeing 777-200ER aircraft and a 2–4–2 abreast arrangement on the Airbus A330 aircraft. The short-haul Economy Class seating is in a 3–3 abreast arrangement on the Boeing 737 aircraft, a 3–2 abreast arrangement on the Fokker 70 aircraft and a 2–2 abreast arrangement on the Embraer 190 aircraft.[93]

Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class
Boeing 777-200ER Economy Class

Economy Class

Economy Comfort seats can be reserved by any Economy Class passenger. The Economy Comfort service is free for passengers with a full-fare ticket, for Flying Blue Platinum members and for Delta SkyMiles Platinum or Diamond members. Discounts apply for Flying Blue Silver or Gold members, SkyTeam Elite Plus members and Delta SkyMiles members.[98]

Economy Comfort is the premium economy product offered on all KLM and KLM Cityhopper flights. Economy Comfort seats on long-haul flights have 4" more pitch than Economy Class totaling a 35–36-inch (89–91 cm) pitch and double recline than in Economy of up to 7 inches (18 cm).[96] Economy Comfort seats on short-haul flights have 3.5" more pitch totaling a 33.5–34.5-inch (85–88 cm) pitch and can recline up to 40% more totaling 5 inches (13 cm).[97] Except for the increased pitch and recline, seating and service in Economy Comfort is the same as in Economy Class. Economy Comfort is located in a separate cabin before the Economy Class zone and therefore Economy Comfort passengers are able to exit the aircraft quickly before Economy passengers. .[98]

Economy Comfort

Europe Business Class is KLM's, and KLM Cityhopper's, short-haul business class product. Europe Business Class seats have a 17-inch (43 cm) width and an average pitch of 33 inches (84 cm).[91] Middle seats in rows of 3 are blocked to increase the personal space of passengers. Europe Business Class seats feature extra legroom and more recline than regular Economy Class seats. In-seat power is available on all Boeing 737 aircraft.[95] Europe Business Class does not have any personal entertainment. Europe Business Class seating is in a 3–3 abreast arrangement, with the middle seat blocked, on the Boeing 737 aircraft, a 3–2 abreast arrangement, with the middle seat blocked, on the Fokker 70 aircraft and a 2–2 abreast arrangement on the Embraer 190 aircraft.[93]

Europe Business Class

Dutch design group Viktor & Rolf has designed and provides amenity kits to World Business Class passengers. Each year a new design will be introduced, and the color of the amenity kits will change every six months. The kit contains socks, eye mask, toothbrush & toothpaste, earplugs, and Viktor & Rolf lip balm.

In March 2013, KLM introduced the newest World Business Class seat which would be rolled-out to the long haul fleet. Dutch designer Hella Jongerius designed the new cabin as well as the new flat-bed seat,[94] which will replace both versions of the angled flat seat that are currently offered in World Business Class. The seat is manufactured by B/E Aerospace and is of the Diamond type. The retrofit has been completed on 20 of 22 Boeing 747-400s, and will be completed in June 2014. The new seats are fully flat, and offer 17-inch (43 cm) high definition personal entertainment systems. When fully flat, the bed is about 2 metres (6.6 ft) long. The cabin features a world's first, a cradle-to-cradle carpet made from old uniforms woven in an intricate pattern,[94] which is combined with new pillows and curtains following a similar intricate design language. The next aircraft to receive the seats is the Boeing 777, followed by the Airbus A330.

World Business Class is KLM's long-haul business class product. Seats in the older World Business Class are 20 inches (51 cm) wide and have a 60-inch (1.5 m) pitch.[91] Seats can be reclined into a 170 degree angled flat bed with a total length of 75 inches (1.9 m). Seats are equipped with a 10.4-inch (26 cm) personal entertainment system with audio and video on demand in the armrest, privacy canopy, massage function, and laptop power ports.[92] World Business Class seating is in a 2–3–2 abreast arrangement on all Boeing 777s , a 2–2–2 abreast arrangement on Airbus A330s, and a 2–2 abreast arrangement on both the main deck and upper deck of Boeing 747-400s.[93] All Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A330-300 aircraft feature newer World Business Class seats based on the Business Class seats from Air France. These World Business Class seats are arranged in a pod-style layout that recline up to 175 degree angled flat bed.

KLM's New World Business Class Seat

World Business Class

KLM has three cabins for international long haul routes, World Business Class, Economy Comfort and Economy. Personal screens with audio video on demand is available in all cabins on all long-haul aircraft with satellite phone, SMS, and Email services. European short-haul and medium-haul flights feature Economy in the rear cabin and Economy Comfort and Europe Business in the forward cabin.


Over the years, KLM operated the following aircraft types:[90]

Fleet history

KLM is currently in the midst of a major fleet renewal programme. The complete narrow-body fleet has been replaced by next-generation aircraft. KLM is starting to renew its wide-body fleet. The complete MD-11 fleet is phased out. The new Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A350-900 have been ordered by the Air France-KLM group. The first aircraft are expected to enter service with KLM in 2015.[89] The Boeing customer code for KLM is 06. The Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft are delivered with Boeing customer code K2, used for Transavia.

As of December 2014, the KLM fleet consists of the following aircraft with an average age of 9.0 years:[87][88]


[83][82] members, KLM has codeshare agreements with the following airlines as well:Skyteam with most codeshare agreementsBesides the

Codeshare agreements

KLM and its partners serve 133 destinations in 69 countries on five continents from their hub at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.[80][81]

KLM Destinations (April 2014) [79]


In June 2013, KLM launched its own 3D strategy game 'Aviation Empire' for both iOS and Android platforms. The game lets users experience what it is like to manage an airline via a game. Players manage KLM from its establishment until now by investing in a fleet, building a network with international destinations, and developing airports. The game combines the digital world with the real world by enabling the unlocking of airports by GPS check-ins.[78]

  • Meet & Seat: this service lets passengers find out about interesting people who will be on board the same KLM flight by connecting your Facebook or LinkedIn profile to the flight. Meet & Seat facilitates contact with fellow travelers who have the same background or interests.[74] By launching Meet & Seat, KLM became the world's first airline to integrate social networking in its regular flight process.[75]
  • Trip Planner: this platform utilizes Facebook in order to organize a trip with Facebook friends.[76]
  • Twitterbots: KLM operates several Twitterbots, these include a bot to request the current status of a flight and a bot to request the lowest KLM fares to a destination on a specified date or in a specified month.[77]

KLM developed several services based on these social platforms, including:

The usage of social media platforms to reach customers experienced an extreme uptake when the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted in April 2010, which caused extreme disruptions to air traffic. Customers used the social channels to reach KLM. In turn KLM decided to utilize these social networks to reach out to customers and provide them with information about the situation.[72] Following the increased use of social media, KLM decided to create a centralized social media site for the public in October 2010, establishing the Social Media Hub.[73]

KLM has an extensive presence on various social media platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube. KLM additionally runs a blog.[71] Customers can ask KLM questions through these channels. Also, these channels are used by KLM to keep their followers up-to-date on the latest KLM news, marketing campaigns, and promotions.

Social media

  • "The businessman travels, sends, and receives by KLM" (translated from Dutch)[66][67] (1920's)
  • "The Flying Dutchman" (possibly referring to the endless traveling of the famous story)[66][68]
  • "Bridging the World"[66] (1994)
  • "The Reliable Airline"[69]
  • "Journeys of Inspiration"[69][70] (2009–present)
KLM has used different slogans throughout its operational history. Several slogans that KLM used are:

Marketing slogans

In April 2010, KLM introduced new uniforms for its female cabin attendants, ground attendants, and pilots at KLM and KLM Cityhopper. The complete new uniform is designed by Dutch couturier Mart Visser. The uniform has the same KLM blue color which was introduced in 1971. KLM added a touch of orange, the national color of the Netherlands, to the KLM blue.[65]

KLM Boeing 747-400

The former KLM livery featured a bright blue fuselage, with a wide white and dark blue strip above the grey belly of the aircraft. The KLM logo was placed on the white tail. The KLM logo was placed centrally at the tail and place at the front part of the fuselage. In December 2002, KLM introduced its current livery. In this change, the white strip was dropped while the dark blue strip was transformed into a cheatline. The bright blue color was retained and now covers most of the fuselage. The KLM logo was placed more centrally on the fuselage, while the position of the logo on the tail and the tail design remained the same.[64]

Livery and uniforms

At its establishment in 1919, Dirk Roosenburg designed the iconic KLM logo. In this logo, Roosenburg intertwined the letter K, L, and M and gave them wings and a crown. The crown was depicted to denote KLM's royal status, which was granted at KLM's establishment.[60] The logo became known as the "vinklogo" (referring to the Chaffinch bird breed).[61] In 1925, the original KLM logo was revised so that it looked more dynamic compared to the original logo. The biggest revision of the KLM logo so far took place in 1961. In this year, F.H.K. Henrion designed the current KLM logo. The crown remained in the logo, formed by the line, the four blue circles, and the cross on top of the logo. In 1991, the logo was further revised by Chris Ludlow of Henrion, Ludlow & Schmidt.[62] In addition to its main logo, KLM has shown its alliance status in its branding, including "Worldwide Reliability" with Northwest Airlines (1993–2002) and the SkyTeam alliance (2004–present).[63] Evolution of the KLM logo


The livery of KLM Asia does not feature Dutch national symbols, such as the flag of the Netherlands, nor does it use KLM's stylised Dutch Crown logo. Instead, it features a special KLM Asia logo. KLM Asia has 3 Boeing 747-400 Combi aircraft (included in the KLM fleet as 747-400M), 7 Boeing 777-200ER, and 2 Boeing 777-300ER all included in the KLM fleet. KLM Asia initially operated the Amsterdam-Bangkok-Taipei route with a B747-400 Combi or a B747-400 non-combi aircraft. Since March 2012, KLM Asia has operated the revised Amsterdam-Taipei-Manila route with Boeing 777-200ER/-300ER aircraft.

KLM Asia (Chinese: 荷蘭亞洲航空公司; pinyin: Hélán Yàzhōu Hángkōng Gōngsī) is a wholly KLM owned subsidiary registered in Taiwan. The airline was established in 1995 in order to operate flights to Taipei, Taiwan, without compromising the traffic rights held by KLM for destinations in the People's Republic of China.[59] KLM Asia was one of a number of airline subsidiaries flying under the "Asia" name with the same purpose of flying to Taiwan. These included Japan Asia Airways (a Japan Airlines subsidiary), Air France Asie, British Asia Airways, Swissair Asia, and Australia Asia Airlines (a Qantas subsidiary).

KLM Asia Boeing 747-400 Combi registration PH-BFP "City of Paramaribo"

KLM Asia

Company Type Year of establishment Year of rejection Notes References
Air UK Associate 1987 1998 Upon obtaining majority stake, renamed KLM uk [41]
Braathens Joint Venture 1998 2003 [42][43]
Buzz Subsidiary 2000 2003 Sold to Ryanair [44][45][46]
De Kroonduif Subsidiary 1955 1963 Acquired by Garuda Indonesia [47]
KLM alps Subsidiary 1998 2001 [48][49]
KLM exel Subsidiary 1991 2004 [50]
KLM Helicopters Subsidiary 1965 1998 Sold to Schreiner Airways [51][52][53]
KLM Interinsulair Bedrijf (KLM-IIB) Subsidiary 1947 1949 Nationalized and renamed Garuda Indonesia [54]
KLM uk Subsidiary 1998 2002 Merged with KLM Cityhopper [41][55]
NetherLines Subsidiary 1988 1991 Merged with NLM CityHopper and formed KLM Cityhopper [56][57]
NLM CityHopper Subsidiary 1966 1991 Merged with NetherLines and formed KLM Cityhopper [57][58]

Subsidiaries, associates, and joint ventures of KLM in the past include:

Former subsidiaries

Company Type Principal activities Incorporated in Group's Equity Shareholding
Cobalt Ground Solutions Subsidiary Ground handling United Kingdom 60%
Cygnific Subsidiary Sales and service Netherlands 100%
EPCOR Subsidiary Maintenance Netherlands 100%
High Speed Alliance Joint Venture High speed trains Netherlands 5% (10% voting right)[39][40]
Kenya Airways Associate Airline Kenya 27%
KLM Asia Subsidiary Airline Taiwan 100%
KLM Catering Services Subsidiary Catering services Netherlands 100%
KLM Cityhopper Subsidiary Airline Netherlands 100%
KLM Cityhopper UK Subsidiary Airline United Kingdom 100%
KLM Equipment Services Subsidiary Equipment support Netherlands 100%
KLM Financial Services Subsidiary Financing Netherlands 100%
KLM Flight Academy Subsidiary Flight academy Netherlands 100%
KLM Health Services Subsidiary Health services Netherlands 100%
KLM UK Engineering Subsidiary Engineering and maintenance United Kingdom 100%
Martinair Subsidiary Cargo airline Netherlands 100%
Schiphol Logistics Park Joint controlled entity Logistics Netherlands 53% (45% voting right) Subsidiary Airline Netherlands 100% France Associate Airline France 40%

Companies with a major KLM stake include:[38]

The Wing of a KLM Boeing 737NG


KLM's head office is located in Amstelveen,[34][35] on a 16-acre (6.5 ha) site near Schiphol Airport. The current KLM headquarters was built between 1968 and 1970.[36] Before the opening of the new headquarters, the airline's head office was on the property of Schiphol Airport in the Haarlemmermeer.[37]

KLM company head office in Amstelveen

Head office

KLM's corporate leadership is in hands of president and chief executive officer (CEO) Camiel Eurlings. The president and CEO is part of the larger Executive Committee, which manages KLM and consists of the statutory managing directors and executive vice presidents of KLM's business units. The business units that are represented in the Executive Committee range from Operations to Industrial Relations, and from Engineering & Maintenance to Inflight Services.[32] The supervision and management of KLM are structured in accordance with the two-tier model. This means that the Board of Managing Directors is supervised by a separate and independent Supervisory Board. Furthermore the Supervisory Board supervises the general performance of KLM as well.[33] The Board of Managing Directors of KLM is formed by the four Managing Directors, including the CEO. The Supervisory Board is formed by nine Supervisory Directors.[32]


Corporate affairs and identity

On 15 October 2014, KLM announced that Camiel Eurlings had decided in joint consultation with the supervisory board to immediately resign as president and CEO of KLM. As of this date, he is succeeded by Pieter Elbers.[1]

KLM received the award for "Best Airline Staff Service" in Europe at the World Airline Awards 2013. This award represents the rating for an airline's performance across both Airport Staff and Cabin Staff combined, and were first introduced in 2010.[30] It is the second consecutive year that KLM won this award; in 2012 it was awarded with this title as well.[31]

On 20 February 2013, KLM announced that Peter Hartman would resign as president and CEO of KLM on 1 July 2013. He was succeeded by Camiel Eurlings. Peter Hartman will remain employed by KLM until he retires on 1 January 2014.[29]

In March 2011, KLM and InselAir reached an agreement for mutual interline cooperation on InselAir destinations, thus expanding its services to its passengers. Beginning 27 March 2011, KLM passengers could also fly to all InselAir destinations, through InselAir's hubs in Curacao and Sint Maarten.

In January 2010, Northwest Airlines was merged to Delta Air Lines, ending their 21-year long alliance with KLM (but Delta Air Lines remains a key member of the SkyTeam and maintains a strong partnership with KLM's sister carrier Air France). Beginning in September 2010, KLM integrated the passenger division of Martinair into KLM. All personnel and routes were transferred to KLM. By November 2011, Martinair consisted of only the cargo and maintenance division.

Recent developments

In March 2007, KLM started to use the Amadeus reservation system, along with partner Kenya Airways. Furthermore, after 10 years, Leo van Wijk resigned from his position as president of KLM, being succeeded by Peter Hartman.[28]

It did not appear that KLM's longstanding joint venture with Northwest Airlines (since merged with Delta Air Lines in 2008) was affected by the merger with Air France. Both KLM and Northwest joined the SkyTeam alliance in September 2004.

On 30 September 2003, Air France and KLM agreed to a merger plan in which Air France and KLM would become subsidiaries of a holding company called Air France-KLM. Both airlines would retain their own brands and both Paris Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol would become the key hubs.[21] In February 2004, the European Commission and US Department of Justice approved the proposed merger of Air France and KLM.[22][23] In April 2004, an exchange offer took place in which KLM shareholders exchanged their KLM shares for Air France shares.[24] The merger of Air France and KLM was approved by the shareholders in April 2004.[25] By exchanging the KLM shares for Air France shares, the merger was therefore fulfilled. On 4 May 2004, the exchange offer was called successful.[26] As of 5 May 2004, the merger of Air France and KLM was a done deal.[27] Since 5 May 2004, Air France – KLM has been listed on the Euronext exchanges in Paris, Amsterdam and New York.[25] In September 2004, the merger was completed by creation of the Air France-KLM holding company.[25] The merger of Air France and KLM resulted in the world's largest airline group. The merger should lead to an annual total cost-saving of between 400 and 500 million euros.[27]

Air France-KLM

Air France–KLM merger

KLM renewed its intercontinental fleets by replacing the Boeing 767s, Boeing 747-300s, and eventually the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 with Boeing 777-200ERs and Airbus A330-200s. Some 747s would be first to retire. The MD-11s will remain in service until 2014. The first Boeing 777 was received on 25 October 2003, entering commercial service on the Amsterdam–Toronto route, while the first Airbus A330-200 was introduced on 25 August 2005 and entered commercial service on the Amsterdam–Washington Dulles route.

KLM introduced the Boeing 767-300ER in July 1995.[7] In January 1996, KLM acquired a 26% share in the flag carrier of Kenya, Kenya Airways.[7] In 1997, Pieter Bouw resigned as president of KLM; he was succeeded by Leo van Wijk.[20] In August 1998, KLM repurchased all regular shares from the Dutch government to make KLM, once again, a private company.[7] On November 1, 1999, KLM founded AirCares, a communication and fundraising platform supporting worthy causes and focusing on underprivileged children around the world.[7]

In January 1993, the US Department of Transportation granted KLM and Northwest Airlines antitrust immunity, which allowed the two airlines to intensify their partnership.[7] As of September 1993, the partners operated all their flights between the US and Europe as part of a joint venture.[7] In March 1994, KLM and Northwest Airlines introduced World Business Class on intercontinental routes.[7] KLM's stake in Northwest Airlines was increased to 25% in 1994.[6]


In 1990, KLM carried 16,000,000 passengers. KLM president Jan de Soet retired at the end of 1990 and was succeeded in 1991 by Pieter Bouw.[19] In December 1991, KLM was the first European airline to introduce a frequent flyer loyalty program, which was called Flying Dutchman.[7]

With the liberalization of the European market, KLM started with the development of its hub at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol by feeding its network with traffic from affiliated airlines.[6] A major step in the development of a worldwide network was the acquisition of a 20% stake in Northwest Airlines in July 1989.[7]

In 1980, KLM carried 9,715,069 passengers. In 1983, it reached an agreement with Boeing to convert some of its Boeing 747-200s to stretched upper deck configuration. The work started in 1984 at the Boeing factory in Everett, Washington and finished in 1986. The converted aircraft were called Boeing 747-200SUD, which the airline operated in addition to Boeing 747-300s. In 1983 as well, KLM took delivery of its first (of ten) Airbus A310 passenger jets.[6] Sergio Orlandini retired in 1987 and was succeeded by Jan de Soet as president of KLM.[18] In 1986, the share of the Dutch government in KLM was reduced to 54.8 percent.[6] It was expected that this share would be reduced further during the decade.[6] The Boeing 747-400 was introduced into KLM's fleet in June 1989.[7]

This McDonnell Douglas DC-10 operated by Northwest Airlines (tail number N237NW) has a Northwest-KLM livery. This photo shows the starboard (above) and port side of the aircraft (below)

1980s and 1990s

The oil crisis of 1973, which caused difficult economic conditions, led KLM to seek government assistance in arranging debt refinancing. KLM issued additional shares of stock to the government, in return for its money. In the late 1970s, the government's stake had again increased to a majority stake of 78%.[6] KLM thus, again, was nationalized. The company management, however, remained under control of the private stakeholders.[7]

In 1973, Sergio Orlandini was appointed to succeed Gerrit van der Wal as president of KLM.[6][17] At the time, KLM, as well as other airlines, had to deal with overcapacity. Orlandini proposed to convert KLM 747s to "combis" that could carry a combination of passengers and freight.[6] In November 1975, the first of these Boeing 747-300B Combi aircraft were added to the KLM fleet.[7]

The new terminal buildings at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol opened in April 1967 and in 1968, the stretched Douglas DC-8-63 entered service.[7] With 244 seats, it was the largest airliner at the time. KLM was the first airline to put the higher gross-weight Boeing 747-200B into service, starting in February 1971, powered by Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines, thus beginning the airline's era of widebody jets.[7] In March 1971, KLM opened its current headquarters in Amstelveen.[7] In 1972, KLM purchased the first of several Douglas DC-10 aircraft. This jet was McDonnell Douglas's response to Boeing's 747.[6]

KLM Lockheed Electra turboprop airliner at Manchester Airport in 1963

on European and Middle East routes. Douglas DC-9 In 1966, KLM introduced the [6]

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