AirFrance KLM to raise capacity of flights to Europe

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

Posted at Sep 22 2012 10:56 AM | Updated as of Sep 23 2012 02:05 AM

MANILA, Philippines - AirFrance KLM is set to increase the capacity of its flights between Manila and Amsterdam via Taipei by 14 percent starting Oct. 28 this year on the back of the strong macroeconomic fundamentals of the Philippines and at the same time to address the growing demand.

Jurriaan Stelder, regional general manager of South China Sea of AirFrance KLM, said in an interview with reporters that the Philippines remain resilient in the Asia Pacific region in terms of economic performance.

“We are investing in the country and that is an extremely important message that we have been here for more than 60 years,” Stelder stressed.

The Philippines posted a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6.1 percent in the first half of the year and is on its way to achieve the government target of between five percent and six percent this year.

“In the Philippines, economic growth is still very resilient while other Asian markets have adjusted downwards,” he added.

In general, Stelder said AirFrance KLM changed the flight schedule in the Philippines due to the country’s economic performance.

AirFrance KLM offers daily round-trip flights from Manila to Europe via its hubs at the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Paris Charles de Gaulle. KLM uses Boeing B777-200 to fly to Amsterdam seven times a week via Taipei.

Between Oct. 28 this year and March 24 next year, KLM would use Boeing B777-200 from Manila to Amsterdam four times a week but would use the bigger B777-300 to fly from Amsterdam to Manila three times a week.

“Beginning Winter 2012, KLM will increase its capacity by 14 percent with three of the seven weekly flights to be operated by B777-300. Flights will continue to make a less-than-two-hour stop in Taipei in between Manila and Amsterdam without changing aircraft,” the airline said.

It added that the airline’s hubs in Amsterdam Schiphol and Charles de Gaulle offer extensive connections to the rest of the world including Europe, America, and Africa.

For his part, AirFrance KLM senior vice president for Asia Pacific Marnix Fruitema said the airline has decided to transfer its Asian office to Shanghai, China from Paris, France to be closer to the growing Asian market.

“We want to be as close as possible to the markets and as close as possible to partners. Better opportunities for our staff in the Asia Pacific,” Fruitema said.