Last year Netherlands’ home airline KLM trialled a rail-air service between Brussels and Amsterdam.
We reported on this development – a long time in the making – last July.
The news today is that KLM and train operator Thalys will officially launch the new service on March 26.
KLM will block capacity for its passengers on four daily Thalys trains between Amsterdam, Brussels and return (all Thalys trains stop at Schiphol).
Extra help will be provided for rail-air passengers at the airport in terms of luggage handling and improved communication.
The latter is a necessity considering many of KLM’s customers are non-European.
Says Boet Kreiken KLM’s executive VP customer experience:
“We’re proud to be expanding this air / rail project. We remain fully committed to ensuring a smooth customer journey, making the train an ever-better alternative to air on short-haul routes in Europe.”
This is something on which Business Traveller has reported many times.
KLM’s base at Schiphol is slot-constrained and is expected to stay like that throughout the summer.
Obviously if more customers arrive by surface rather than taking short flights this would ease the situation at Schiphol.
However KLM is one of the canniest airlines in Europe. Despite rail-air KLM will continue to operate several flights daily on the above route (which is just over 100 air miles) for the foreseeable future.
Why? Because KLM operates these flights as feeders to its Schiphol hub and it does not want to alienate its corporate customers (many of whom are located close to Brussels airport).