Executive Briefings

Despite Cutbacks, Air France-KLM Says It Plans to Stay in the Maindeck Airfreight Business

The Air France-KLM group (AF-KL) has pledged to remain in the maindeck cargo business, despite further reductions in its freighter complement. In a media briefing at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, Erik Varwijk, executive vice president of Air France-KLM-Martinair Cargo, said that over the next two years, the group will shed four of its current 14 freighters.

By 2015 there will be eight KLM and Martinair freighters based at Schiphol and two Air France freighters based at Paris Charles de Gaulle. Air France is phasing out its last B747s while Martinair is losing a B747-400ERF, operated on lease from KLM, and an MD-11 freighter.

KLM's B747-400 combi fleet, of which 15 are currently operational, will also be phased out between 2016 and 2020. They are due for retirement, and neither Boeing nor Airbus is bringing new planes of this type to market. "We are still contemplating how we deal with that," Varwijk admitted.

However, he affirmed that "It's not the right thing to do to lose all our maindeck capacity. It's important in our product offering and important to our relationship with freight forwarders."

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By 2015 there will be eight KLM and Martinair freighters based at Schiphol and two Air France freighters based at Paris Charles de Gaulle. Air France is phasing out its last B747s while Martinair is losing a B747-400ERF, operated on lease from KLM, and an MD-11 freighter.

KLM's B747-400 combi fleet, of which 15 are currently operational, will also be phased out between 2016 and 2020. They are due for retirement, and neither Boeing nor Airbus is bringing new planes of this type to market. "We are still contemplating how we deal with that," Varwijk admitted.

However, he affirmed that "It's not the right thing to do to lose all our maindeck capacity. It's important in our product offering and important to our relationship with freight forwarders."

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