KLM has updated its voucher policy, and will now offer a choice of either of a voucher or cash refund for future flights cancelled as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Previously the Dutch carrier had been issuing refund vouchers against cancelled flights. These vouchers could then be redeemed for cash after 12 months if they had not been used.

But in a statement KLM said:

“The circumstances in the airline industry have now stabilised somewhat. In response to this trend and the latest recommendations of the EU Commission, the Netherlands Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, has decided to withdraw her earlier instructions to the Netherlands Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate, which were to remain in force until 1 July.

“KLM will therefore adjust its policy accordingly for passengers whose flight may be cancelled in the coming period. These customers will be offered the choice of a voucher or a cash refund.”

The carrier warned that “in view of the magnitude of this crisis and the number of cancellations, it may take longer to process these transactions”, and added that it would soon announce plans “to make all vouchers more attractive by adding extra perks”.

Airlines worldwide are struggling to deal with refund requests for cancelled flights – Gulf carrier Emirates recently pledged to process half a million outstanding refunds by August.

And airlines including Aer Lingus and Finnair have been attempting to encourage customers to take vouchers for cancelled flights rather than opting for cash refunds, by adding extra value to the vouchers.

Finnair adds 10 per cent to refund voucher values