Dutch Politicians Finally Getting Involved with KLM Misery

It seems that the recent widespread criticisms of Dutch politician’s lack of interest or involvement as regards the future of KLM seem to have at least in some political circles fallen on open ears.
The Dutch Aviation Secretary, Wilma Mansveld,has stated in a recently aired radio programme that she is planning a trip to Paris in early March to meet and discuss the Franco-Dutch carrier’s problems with her French counterpart, Alain Vidalies.

Wilma Mansveld  /  courtesy Government.nl
Wilma Mansveld / courtesy Government.nl

Under severe pressure
It was further stated that Mansveld’s delegation expects the top management of both airlines to be present at this meeting which it seems is aimed at placing a firm direction for the future as far as the strategy of the aviation group is concerned.
It’s no secret that the alliance between both carriers is under tremendous pressure.
KLM managers have recently complained about unfair transfer of profits from their side into the Air France coffers, whereby Air France itself continues to make heavy losses.
On top of all this, competition from the Middle East carriers as well as short haul low-fare airlines has siphoned away quite an amount of revenue from both of the airlines.
Cargo developments are seen to have more or less come to a standstill with both AF and KL scaling their cargo fleets down to what they consider as being the bare minimum needed for the future.
The breakdown of the Martinair cargo fleet is still high on the AF-KL agenda.

While Rome is burning…
How then will Mansveld get any joy out of this meeting?
There was apparently a study undertaken by Mansveld’s department last year with the aim of determining the consequences for Amsterdam Schiphol if certain worldwide freight corridors were to be no longer served adequately by KLM and Martinair.
The study should or would then highlight the long term effects for Amsterdam as a leading air cargo distribution centre.
The report was planned to have been finished and published by October of 2014.
So far, nothing has appeared, but according to those close to the issue, been completed but not yet presented to the Dutch parliament.

Alain Vidalies  /  courtesy Gouvernement.fr
Alain Vidalies / courtesy Gouvernement.fr

…Nero goes on playing his fiddle 
Why then the delay?
It could be seen as somewhat like “Rome is burning whilst Nero continues to play his fiddle.”
One plausible argument is that secretary Mansveld wants to put more political pressure on both parties, but especially Air France, in the upcoming meeting.
On the other hand, Mansveld states that the cooperation (from the French side) with the Dutch carrier has yielded much in the past.
Where, is not said!
It is argued that KLM does not have a decisive share in the running of the two carriers.
This could only be possible when KLM had a larger share altogether. This according to Mansveld is just not possible.

Is this then the start of proceedings to somehow come to terms and mutually end the Dutch - French marriage?
There has been speculation about this step for some months now.
But, where would that leave both carriers in the future in this ever competitive market?

John Mc Donagh

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