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KLM to halt all long-haul routes due to goverment testing requirements

written by WOFA | January 22, 2021

A file image of a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 777. (KLM)
A file image of a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 777. (KLM)

Dutch flag carrier KLM has announced that it would suspend all its long-haul flights, including some European routes from 22 January, in response to new testing requirements implemented by the Dutch government.

On Wednesday, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced a slew of new additional measures in the fight against the coronavirus, including a temporary ban on flights to the UK, South Africa, and South American countries, pending a new quarantine law.

Travellers must also undergo a rapid COVID-19 test before travelling to the Netherlands, followed by a standard PCR test on arrival, which PM Rutte called “a double lock on the door.”

However, KLM has raised its concern at the new rapid testing policy, and claims it is now impossible to operate intercontinental flights with the policy in place. Not least due to the fact that all staff must also comply with the policy upon flying out of the country.

“We cannot run the risk of our staff being stranded somewhere. This is why we are stopping all intercontinental flights from Friday and all flights to European destinations where crew members have to spend the night,” KLM said.

This also applies to cargo flights and repatriation flights, according to the airline.

The new measures announced by the caretaker government of Prime Minister Rutte do not come as a surprise.


Some weeks ago, the Netherlands decided to require a negative COVID-19 test at most 72 hours before arrival to the country.

Even passengers on planes making a stop at a Dutch airport, without having to disembark the planes and wait in a terminal, were required to do the test.

Additional reporting by Airlinerwatch.


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