Many national airlines across mainland Europe are expanding rail-air services as we have reported on numerous occasions.

Yet as we have reported previously, KLM of The Netherlands has been slow to adopt the concept.

Judging by what KLM’s CEO Pieter Elbers told Skift recently, things are unlikely to change anytime soon.

In fact although KLM offers rail-air on one route, Brussels-Amsterdam, it continues to fly between the two cities.

During the current pandemic (when KLM, like its rivals, has cut schedules) a glance at for June 21 shows the carrier operating three flights daily by Embraer 190 jet aircraft.

Yet the air mileage for Brussels-Amsterdam is a mere 108.

“Other than Brussels it will remain very challenging by the simple fact that it will cost an enormous amount of money” to build the necessary rail infrastructure Elbers told Skift.

Berlin is too far by rail, although London is a possibility. No mention was made of Dusseldorf (far closer than Berlin) from whom KLM sources traffic.

“I really wouldn’t see on a large scale the ability to replace [flights]” the CEO told Skift.

My personal view? The Netherlands is one of the very few European nations without domestic aviation.

It’s a different scenario in Germany where Lufthansa (and many foreign carriers) have forged rail-air deals with Deutsche Bahn.

Lufthansa further expands Frankfurt rail-air links

Therefore any rail-air links to KLM would have to arrive from nearby nations. And KLM has no influence over their rail systems (hence it continues to fly Brussels-Amsterdam for the time being).

KLM is a sixth-freedom airline. It needs to attract travellers from other nations (to fly via Amsterdam) in order to exist in its present form.