Will the 108 mile Brussels-Amsterdam air service survive?
The question must be asked because politicians consider this short hop flight environmentally unfriendly.
According to lesechos.fr a majority of Dutch parliamentarians are calling for the removal of this KLM air service on environmental grounds.
Business Traveller touched on this subject in our recent feature Assessing the air-ral trail (available to subscribers). Both cities and Schiphol are served by numerous rail services, both high-speed and conventional.
Dutch airline KLM operates this route five times daily in each direction.
It charges a hefty €402 (£342) for a one-way economy class fight – one of the world’s most expensive air fares (in terms of flown mileage).
In truth this route is operated for the benefit of passengers making connections at Amsterdam Schiphol.
But as I said earlier it does occupy space at Schiphol, already short of slots, which could be better used for long-haul services.
The Schiphol slot situation has reached the stage where the European Commission had to request KLM to hand over a transatlantic slot to Norwegian in the interests of competition.
Indeed Schiphol has told its airline customers to encourage passengers to take the surface option when making connections. Granted this is not always possible but certainly it is for short routes like Brussels-Amsterdam or Dusseldorf-Amsterdam.
But airlines like to control their passengers from check-in to final destination.
Says Andre Orban, chief editor of Aviation24.be:
“Most if not all passengers on the Brussels-Amsterdam route connect at Schiphol to other flights. A train connection would add a lot of inconvenience. I flew that route several times, always on connections. But if I need to go from Brussels to Amsterdam City I take the train.”
Personally I believe KLM would have closed this route years ago had it not been for the ill-fated Fyra rail project in which it was involved.
Fyra should have been a high-speed rail serving linking Brussels with Schiphol and Amsterdam.
But its Italian-made trains were a failure and had to be returned to manufacturer AnsaldoBreda.