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KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Dutch: Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij, literally Royal Aviation Company; usual English translation: Royal Dutch Airlines) is the national airline of the Netherlands and is part of Air France-KLM. KLM's headquarters are in Amstelveenmarker near its hub at Amsterdam Airport Schipholmarker.

KLM operates worldwide scheduled passenger and cargo services to more than 90 destinations. KLM is the oldest airline in the world still operating under its original name. It has 33,000 employees (as of March 2007).

The merging of KLM with Air France in May 2004 created Air France-KLM. Air France-KLM is incorporated under French law with headquarters at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airportmarker. Both Air France and KLM continue to fly under their distinct brand names.

Air France-KLM is part of the SkyTeam alliance with Delta Air Lines, Aeroméxico, Korean Air, Czech Airlines, Alitalia, Northwest Airlines, Aeroflot, and China Southern Airlines.


A 1919 advertisement
KLM was founded on 7 October 1919, making it the oldest carrier in the world still operating under its original name, though the company stopped operating during the Second World War - apart from the operations in the Dutch Antilles in the Caribbean. The first KLM flight was on 17 May 1920, from Croydon Airportmarker, Londonmarker to Amsterdammarker carrying two Britishmarker journalists and a number of newspapers. It was flown by an Aircraft Transport and Travel Airco DH.16, callsign G-EALU, piloted by Jerry Shaw. In 1920 KLM carried 440 passengers and 22 tons of freight. In 1921 KLM started scheduled services. By 1926 it was offering flights to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Brussels, Paris, London, Bremen, Copenhagen, and Malmo; using primarily Fokker F2 & Fokker F.III. KLM was also the first airline to fly to Manchester Airportmarker, using a DC-2 via Doncastermarker.

Intercontinental service to the Netherlands East Indiesmarker (today's Republic of Indonesiamarker) started in 1929. This was for several years the world's longest scheduled route. The service used Fokker F.VIIb, although the first non-scheduled KLM flight had been in 1924 by Fokker F7 registration H-NACC piloted by Van der Hoop. In 1930 KLM carried 15,143 passengers. The first transatlantic KLM route was between Amsterdammarker and Curaçaomarker in December 1934 using the Fokker F-XVIII "Snip." In the 1940s the KLM was the only civilian airline operating the Douglas DC-5.

On 21 May 1946, KLM was the first continental European airline to launch scheduled service to New Yorkmarker. In 1950 KLM carried 356,069 passengers. On 25 July 1957, the airline introduced its first flight simulator for the Douglas DC-7C - the last KLM aircraft with piston engines - which opened the first trans-polar route from Amsterdammarker via Anchorage to Tokyomarker on 1 November 1958. Each crew flying the transpolar route over the Arctic was equipped with a winter survival kit, including a 7.62 mm selective-fire AR-10 carbine for use against polar bears in the event the plane was forced down onto the polar ice.

In March 1960, KLM introduced the first Douglas DC-8 jet into its fleet. In 1966, KLM introduced the Douglas DC-9 on European and Middle East routes. The new terminal buildings at Schiphol Airport opened in April 1967 and in 1968, the Douglas DC-8-63 entered service. With 244 seats it was the largest airliner of the time. KLM was the first airline to put the higher gross-weight Boeing 747-200B into service in February 1971 with Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines, beginning the era of widebody jets.

In 1980, KLM carried 9,715,069 passengers. In 1983, it reached agreement with Boeing to convert some of its Boeing 747-200s to stretched upper deck configuration. The work started in 1984 at the Boeing factory in Everett, Washingtonmarker and finished in 1986. The converted aircraft were called Boeing 747-200SUD, which the airline operated in addition to Boeing 747-300s. In June 1989, KLM introduced the Boeing 747-400. Later that year, in July, KLM acquired 20 per cent of Northwest Airlines, starting an alliance between the two airlines. In 1990, KLM carried 16,000,000 passengers. In March 1994, KLM and Northwest Airlines introduced World Business Class on intercontinental routes, and in July 1995, KLM introduced its Boeing 767-300ER.
KLM Convair

In March and June 2002, KLM announced it would renew its intercontinental fleets by replacing the Boeing 767s, Boeing 747-300s, and eventually the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 with Boeing 777-200ER and Airbus A330-200s. Some 747s will be first to retire.The MD-11s will remain in service until 2014/2015. The first Boeing 777 was received on 25 October 2003, entering commercial service on the Amsterdammarker-Torontomarker route, while the first Airbus A330-200 was introduced on 25 August 2005 and entered commercial service on the Amsterdammarker-Washington Dullesmarker route.

In March 2007 KLM started using the Amadeus reservation system, along with partner Kenya Airways.

Corporate organization

PH-BXA, a Boeing 737-800 aircraft painted in a retro livery
KLM is listed on the stock exchanges of Amsterdam, New York and Paris.


Former subsidiaries:


Air France-KLM
On 30 September 2003, Air France and KLM announced that they would in future be known as Air France-KLM. This entity was offered on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange on 5 May 2004. The takeover by Air France marked the end of the oldest independent airline in the world. The Royal adjective will remain. Its independent identity is guaranteed to 2008, but its operations may be merged with those of the French company. In the meantime, it does not appear that KLM's longstanding joint venture with Northwest Airlines will be affected. Both KLM and Northwest joined the SkyTeam alliance in September 2004.

Presidents - CEOs

KLM Delft Blue houses

1952, KLM has presented its long-haul first-class passengers with small Delftware, blue-and-white porcelain reproductions of old Dutch canal houses. In 1993, amidst the change-over from three to two cabins on its long-haul service, these canal houses (in Dutch, "huisjes") were made available to its "WorldBusiness Class" passengers.

Initially, these houses, ranging in size from 5 to 11 cm. (about 2 to 4 inches) were filled with Rynbende jenever (a Dutch liquor and precursor to gin made from juniper berries); once Rynbende (Simon Rynbende & Sons) was acquired by Henkes, the houses were filled with Henkes jenever, and when that company was acquired by Bols, they became filled with Bols jenever.

The impetus for these houses was a rule aimed at curtailing a previously-widespread practice of offering significant incentives to passengers by limiting the value of gifts given by airlines to 75 US cents; however, no limit was placed on the provisions of duty-free liquor, so KLM was able to provide this more-valuable gift, camouflaged as liquor. Prior to giving out these Delft-blue liquor-filled houses, KLM gave Delft-blue tiles as gifts, but these tiles broke the 75 cent limits.

There are 88 different houses as of 2008, with an additional house added every year on the 7th of October; this being the anniversary of KLM's founding (KLM, the world's oldest commercial airline, being 88 years old in 2008), each numbered and representing the number of years KLM has been in operation. Each year, a new house receives the next sequential number. All houses are reproductions of historic houses in the Netherlands or its overseas dependencies, although the specific location of every archetype of some of the first ten huisjes was not recorded.

In addition to the 88 standard houses, sealed and filled with jenever (with numerous variations on the wording on the bottom or back of the houses in different manufacturing batches and with different jenever manufacturer names), there are variants that are not filled with gin, which are distributed to passengers on certain long-haul flights to Islamic countries who forbid import or export of liquor. In 2006 when, in response to terrorist activities, liquids were banned or restricted on various flights, KLM's trans-Atlantic flights to the United Statesmarker briefly also offered the same liquor-free huisjes.Until the early 1980s, the houses distributed on those routes were packaged as "ashtrays" with an open chimney and a semi-circular hole cut into the rear of the house, ostensibly for a cigarette.

Additional, larger, special Delftware have periodically been offered to VIPs and honeymoon couples; for most of the 1980s and 1990s, this was a model of the Royal Palace; since 2003, this was the "Waag". These are particularly prized by collectors and at auctions they are often valued at about $1000.

Destinations and routes

KLM is the only carrier on 61 of the routes it operates, representing 45% of its ASKs from the airport. On around 10% of flights (13 routes) it faces competition from two other airlines. Eight of these routes are within Europe (Barcelonamarker, Copenhagenmarker, London Heathrowmarker, Milan Malpensamarker, Oslomarker, Praguemarker, Stockholmmarker and Viennamarker), the other five being Bangkokmarker, Curaçaomarker, Taipeimarker, Torontomarker and Tripolimarker.


The KLM fleet consists of the following aircraft (at 17 October 2009):

Aircraft In service Orders Passengers
Airbus A330-200 10 7 251 (30/221)
Boeing 737-300 7 0 127 (39/88)
Boeing 737-400 9 0 147 (39/108)
Boeing 737-700 4 9 129 (45/84)
Boeing 737-800 21 0 171 (57/114)
Boeing 737-900 5 0 189 (51/138)
Boeing 747-400 6 0 428 (42/388)
Boeing 747-400M 16 0 280 (42/238)
Boeing 777-200ER 15 0 327 (35/292)
Boeing 777-300ER 4 4 425 (35/390)
McDonnell Douglas MD-11 10 0 324 (24/300)
KLM Cargo
Boeing 747-400ERF 4 0 2 aircraft leased to Martinair
Total 111 20

Fleet History

Over the years, KLM operated the following aircraft types:

KLM fleet overview
Aircraft Introduced Retired Notes
Airbus A310 1983 1997
Airbus A330-200 1987 1995
Boeing 737-200 1987 1995
Boeing 737-300 1986
Boeing 737-400 1989
Boeing 737-700 2008
Boeing 737-800 1999
Boeing 737-900 2001
Boeing 747-200 1971 2004
Boeing 747-300 1983 2004
Boeing 747-400 1989
Boeing 767-300 1995 2007
Boeing 777-200 2003
Boeing 777-300 2008
Fokker 100 1989 1998 also used by KLM Cityhopper
McDonnell Douglas DC-10 1972 1995
McDonnell Douglas MD-11 1993


Boeing 777-200ER World Business Class
Boeing 777-200ER Economy Class
Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class
KLM offers Business Class and Economy class on its aircraft. On shorthaul aircraft, Flexible Business Class is called Europe Select, while on longhaul aircraft Business Class is called World Business Class.

World Business Class

World Business Class offers a 60 inch pitch on all longhaul aircraft. All aircraft offer a 170 degree angled lie-flat seat with a 10.4" TV monitor with AVOD (Audio Video on Demand), email/text messaging, a privacy canopy, a massage function, and laptop power ports. KLM's newest addition to the fleet, the Boeing 777-300ER features the same Business Class seat as merger partner Air France.

All WBC seats offer personal reading lamps, leg/foot rests, and personal telephones (At the back of the controller)

Pre-departure facilities include a fully flexible reservation (except WBC Holiday Fare which may have restrictions ), check-in desks, lounge access, priority boarding, and 125% to 175% Flying Blue miles. Onboard, passengers are given a three course meal with menus, pre-departure beverages, and snacks, which are available throughout the flight.

Europe Select

Europe Select, KLM's premium product on shorter sectors, is offered on flights operated by Boeing 737 equipment. It offers a 33 inch pitch, a meal service on board (hot or cold meals depend on the length of the flight), priority boarding, extra baggage allowance, double Flying Blue miles, and fully flexible booking.

Economy Class

Economy Class offers a 31" pitch on all long haul aircraft except the Airbus A330-200, which offers a 32" pitch. Except for the 747-400 planes, wide-bodied aircraft offers personal TVs with AVOD and personal telephones (on the back of the controller), and an email/text messaging function. The first 747 plane (PH-BFN) has received the personal TVs onboard the Economy Class in July 2009 and more 747s will be gradually be refitted in the next few months. Until then the rest of Boeing 747-400s are limited to personal audio and mainscreen entertainment without PTVs.

On short haul European flights on KLM and KLM Cityhopper, aircraft have no in flight entertainment, and contain a seat 31" (except the Fokker 50 which has a 30.5" pitch . Passengers flying Economy Class long-haul routes outside of Europe receive a hot meal service (often more than one depending on the flight duration), with real metal cutlery. Passengers flying within Europe in KLM Economy Class receive a snack to suit the time of day. Freshly prepared sandwiches made the day of flight served on most morning flights. Drinks (including alcohol) are free on KLM for all passengers, with the exception of champagne.

KLM's 747-400s and 777-300ER economy seating are ten-abreast (3-4-3), the 777-200ER and MD-11s are nine-abreast (3-3-3), while the A330s are eight abreast (2-4-2).

Codeshare agreements

As of April 2009, KLM has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:
KLM - SkyTeam Alliance Logo

KLM Asia

KLM Asia (荷蘭亞洲航空公司 Hanyu Pinyin: Hélán Yàzhōu Hángkōng Gōngsī) was a wholly KLM owned subsidiary, registered in Taiwan, Republic of China. The airline was established in 1995 in order to operate flights to Taipeimarker, without compromising the traffic rights held by KLM for destinations in the People's Republic of Chinamarker. KLM Asia is no longer in operation but its aircraft still fly in the KLM Asia livery.

The livery of KLM Asia does not feature Dutch national symbols, such as the Flag of the Netherlands, nor does it use KLM's stylised Dutch Crown logo, instead featuring a special KLM Asia logo.

KLM Asia fleet

KLM Asia has 6 Boeing 747-400 Combi aircraft (included in the KLM fleet as 747-400M).
  • PH-BFC - City of Calgary
  • PH-BFD - City of Dubai
  • PH-BFF - City of Freetown
  • PH-BFH - City of Hong Kong (Currently flying in full passenger configuration)
  • PH-BFM - Mexico City
  • PH-BFP - City of Paramaribo

Incidents and accidents

For sourcing and full list of accidents from 1943 see: Aviation safety database

This list does not include KLM cityhopper, which had a single accident involving fatalities in 1994.

The most notable accident in which a KLM flight has been involved was the 1977 Tenerife disastermarker. After this accident KLM flights have not lead to fatalities.

Accidents involving fatalities
  • On 20 December 1934, KLM Douglas DC-2, PH-AJU "Uiver" crashed at Rutbah Wells, Iraq, killing all occupants. It participated in the Mac Robertson Air Race in October 1934 and won the handicap division. It had returned to the Netherlands in November and the crew were heroes. It was on its first flight after return from the race and was enroute to the Netherlands Indies carrying the Christmas mail.
  • On 14 July 1935, KLM Fokker F.XXII PH-AJQ "Kwikstaart" crashed and burned just outside Schipholmarker, killing four crew and two passengers - 14 other occupants survived.

  • On 20 July 1935, KLM Douglas DC-2, PH-AKG "Gaai" crashed in an Alpine pass in the San Bernardino Passmarker near Pian San Giacomo, killing all three crew and all ten passengers.

  • On 28 December 1941, KNILM Douglas DC-3, PK-ALN (formerly KLM PH-ALN) "Nandoe" was destroyed on the ground by Japanese fighters at Medan, North Sumatra, Dutch East Indies, killing all crew members and passengers.

  • On 14 November 1946 - A KLM Douglas C-47 crashed at Schiphol Airportmarker, caused by a failed landing in bad weather. All 21 passengers and the 5 crew were killed. One passenger was the Dutch writer Herman de Man.
  • On 26 January 1947, KLM Douglas Dakota PH-TCR crashed after takeoff from Copenhagen, killing all 22 onboard, including Prince Gustaf Adolf of Swedenmarker.
  • On 20 October 1948, KLM Lockheed Constellation PH-TEN "Nijmegen" crashed near Prestwick, Scotlandmarker, killing all 40 aboard. (see KLM Constellation air disaster 1948)
  • On 23 June 1949, KLM Lockheed Constellation PH-TER "Roermond", piloted by Hans Plesman (the son of CEO Albert Plesman crashed into the sea off Barimarker, killing 33 occupants.
  • On 12 July 1949, KLM Lockheed Constellation PH-TDF "Franeker" crashed into a 674 ft Ghatkoparmarker hill near Bombay, Indiamarker, killing all 45 aboard. Thirteen of the dead were American news correspondents.
  • On 22 March 1952, a KLM Douglas DC-7 PH-TBJ crashed in Frankfurt, killing 42 of 47 occupants [2386].
  • On 23 August 1954; a KLM Douglas DC-6B, PH-DFO "Willem Bontekoe", crashed between Shannon and Schiphol in the North Sea, 40 km from IJmuiden - all 21 passengers and crew died.
  • On 5 September 1954, Flight 633, a Lockheed Super Constellation, PH-LKY ditched in the River Shannon after takeoff from Shannon Airportmarker, Irelandmarker. 28 out of 56 people on board (46 passengers and 10 crew) were killed.
  • In 1957 a KLM Super Constellation PH-LKT crashed in the sea near Biak, after takeoff from Mokmer airport at Biak on its way to Manilla. The pilot made a low farewell flypass over the island, but the aircraft lost altitude, crashed into the sea and exploded. Nine crew and 49 passengers died. Twenty two passengers were rescued, of whom two died later.
  • On 14 August 1958, KLM Flight 607-E, a Lockheed Super Constellation, PH-LKM en route from Amsterdam to New York, via Shannon Airport, crashed into the ocean 180 km off the coast of Co. Galway, Ireland. 91 passengers and 8 crew members perished.
  • On 27 March 1977, Flight 4805marker, a Boeing 747-206B, PH-BUF & Pan Am Flight 1736marker, a Boeing 747-121, N736PA, collidedmarker at Tenerife North Airportmarker, Canary Islandsmarker, killing 583 people. The incident has the highest number of fatalities (excluding ground fatalities) of any single accident in aviation history.

Notable incidents without fatalities
  • On 17 July 1935, KLM DC-2 PH-AKM "Maraboe" crashed near Bushehrmarker, Iran. All occupants were rescued.
  • On 23 March 1952, a KLM Lockheed Constellation, PH-TFF "Venlo", suffered a propeller failure and subsequent engine fire during landing in Bangkokmarker. All 44 passengers and crew escaped shortly before the fire completely consumed the plane. A Thai ground crewman ran into the burning aircraft and returned with an infant who had been left behind.
  • On 15 December 1989, KLM Flight 867, a Boeing 747-400, PH-BFC flew through a volcanic plume causing nearly US$80 million worth of damage to the then brand-new aircraft. The plane landed in Anchoragemarker, Alaskamarker, with no reported injuries or fatalities.
  • On 28 November 2004, KLM Flight 1673, a Boeing 737-400, PH-BTC had a birdstrike upon rotation from Amsterdam Airport Schipholmarker. The plane continued onwards to Barcelona International Airportmarker, where the nose gear collapsed. No injuries or casualties; the aircraft was written off.


KLM has been accused of helping Nazi war criminals to escape from Europe at the end of the Second World War. Suspected war criminals were forbidden by the Allies to leave Germany but historical research done by Dutch journalists show that KLM asked the Swiss authorities to allow some former Nazi to cross the borders without proper documents in order that they could then escape to South America.
KLM has always denied that it played such a role.


  1. " Contact." KLM Corporate. Retrieved on 28 September 2009.
  2. (Dutch) Albert Heijn, ed (1969) KL-50 - logboek van vijftig jaar vliegen. Meijer, Amsterdam.
  3. Pikula, Sam (Major), The ArmaLite AR-10, Regnum Publications (1998), p. 73
  5. Maurizio Giuliano, The Stamp Collector, Journalist , April 2004
  6. Dutch civil aircraft register
  7. CH-Aviation
  8. KLM corporate Fleet
  9. KLM retired fleet at Retrieved 2009-11-29.
  10. [1]World Business Class Holiday Fare (Dutch language)
  11. [2]Flying Blue miles earned depends on booking class
  12. [Fokker 50 seat map on]
  14. KLM Codeshare Agreements
  15. De Tijd 24 June 1949, cited in Heijn (1969)
  16. De Telegraaf 17 Jul 1935, cited in Heijn (1969)
  17. KLM PH-TFF Bangkok Crash
  18. Aviation Safety Network NTSB
  19. [3]

External links

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