From the start of the summer season 2023, which in the aviation industry is on 26 March, KLM is planning to increase the frequency of direct flights to Greater China in response to the lifting of travel restrictions by the Chinese government.
KLM will operate a service three times a week from Amsterdam to Hong Kong. Starting with six non-stop flights to both Beijing and Shanghai, the airline is then planning to increase this to daily services in May.
“The increased number of flights from 26 March 2023 marks the next step in the resumption of routes from and via Amsterdam to Greater China. The Chinese market is important to the KLM network, because of the level of demand from business travellers”, the airline said in a statement.
The foreseen schedule for the upcoming summer season is the following:
- Amsterdam – Hong Kong: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
- Hong Kong – Amsterdam: Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
- Amsterdam – Beijing: daily
- Beijing – Amsterdam: daily
- Amsterdam – Shanghai: daily
- Shanghai – Amsterdam: daily
While KLM already put forward the planned roaster, it is still subject to government approval. The airline also warns that the schedule might be affected by the possible return of travel restrictions.
Amsterdam is following the example of other the world’s capitals, which are now reactivating direct air connections to China. According to tourism intelligence company Mabrian, there are three destinations that stand out for their prompt reactivation and that already exceed the number of flights in the pre-pandemic period: Budapest, Lisbon and Warsaw. Respectively, these three capitals have increased their air connectivity with China by 138%, 107% and 6% for this year compared to 2019.
At the next level down when it comes to recovering connectivity, the study places Athens, Minsk, Frankfurt, Munich, Khabarovsk, Brussels, Copenhagen and London, still with 38% below 2019 in the case of Athens, and between 50% and 63% less flights scheduled than in 2019 for the rest.
In the last group are European capitals that have reactivated their capacity the least from China. The study shows that the most traditionally visited European capitals, such as Rome, Paris and Madrid, are in this category. These four cities have volumes between 72% and 90% less than in the pre-pandemic period. An explanation for this might be the large volume of flights that they registered in 2019, thus they may take a while to recover.