KLM is to suspend flights to Qatar from the start of the summer 2017 schedules.
The Dutch carrier will stop flights between Amsterdam Schiphol and Doha from March 26, stating that the service “has proven unprofitable since Qatar Airways launched direct service to Schiphol in June 2015”.
The airline said that the move “brings an end to KLM’s 33-year presence in Qatar”.
The move will also see KLM adjust its flight schedules between Schiphol and three other Gulf states.
Bahrain (currently operated in combination with Doha) will be served six times-weekly via Kuwait (up from the current five times per week). In turn Dammam (currently served in combination with Kuwait) will become a direct service, while Muscat will be served via Dammam.
Abu Dhabi will continue to be served directly, and flights to Dubai will be unaffected by the changes.
More details on the timetable changes can be seen here.
Announcing the move Pieter Elbers, KLM president and CEO said:
“Adjusting the schedule enables us to offer our passengers improved direct connections to the Gulf States. In some cases, this will reduce flight times.
“The capacity removed from these routes will be deployed for new destinations announced for the start of the 2017 summer season.”
The Air France-KLM group recently announced plans for a new “Boost” subsidiary, focusing on “ultra-competitive” routes, in response “to the Gulf State airlines which are developing at low production costs on key markets where Air France-KLM is pursuing its growth ambition”.
The group also plans to form a joint venture with US carrier and fellow Skyteam member Delta, as well as Indian carrier Jet Airways, in order to better compete against their Gulf rivals Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways