Next year Holland’s KLM will give Brussels-Amsterdam passengers a choice: take the plane or the train.

As Business Traveller has reported on numerous occasions, despite its worthy environmental campaign KLM continues to operate five daily flights between Brussels and Amsterdam, even though this air route is little more than a hop and there is already high-speed (HS) rail service.

Little wonder therefore that KLM has received criticism from environmentalists, politicians and media.

Now we can report that KLM has seen the light. Customers will be offered an air-rail choice from March 29 next year.

Initially and perhaps disappointingly KLM will continue with four daily flights on the route.

Why? Because as explained in the piece above, KLM does not want to risk alienating profitable business travellers – the main users of the existing flights.

Many international companies are located outside downtown Brussels and near to the airport.

The air-rail option will see KLM working with NS (Dutch Rail) and HS rail operator Thalys.

Many details remain unavailable. But it’s understood KLM will be blocking capacity on one or more scheduled Thalys services linking Brussels with Amsterdam Schiphol.

Says KLM president and CEO Pieter Elbers:

“Intermodal transport by train and plane is still complex and has challenges. It is also about speed, both for the train connection itself and for the transfer process at the airport. This reduction from five to four [flight] frequencies is a good way to continue working on this and to gain more Air and Rail experience.”

In future tickets will be bookable through and travel agents.

For details of other air-rail links in mainland Europe see our recent feature:

Assessing the air-rail trail