KLM launches six mercy flights to Australia to collect Dutch citizens stranded by coronavirus.
For the first time in almost two decades, the blue and white fuselage of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will be seen in Australian skies again this weekend.
KLM, the world’s oldest airline, will be repatriating up to 2,000 Dutch nationals from Australia, many who had been stuck on cruise ships amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the next week, six charter flights organised by the Dutch Government will fly back and forth between Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and Sydney to get the Dutch citizens home.
The first blue bird, KL827, was due to touch down at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport at 1750 AEDT on Saturday, April 4.
“These flights are extra special in KLM’s history,” said Rene de Groot, KLM’s chief operating officer.
“We have had a strong relationship with Australia since 1950, as the country has been a valuable destination in our network for over 50 years.
“It is now the first time in 20 years that another KLM aircraft lands at Sydney Airport.”
Passengers will have to fork out €900 (A$1,612) each to secure a seat on the Boeing 777-200ER charter flights, the first of which will arrive back in The Netherlands on April 6, after a brief stopover in Kuala Lumpur.
Due to coronavirus restrictions, passengers are unlikely to be allowed to leave the aircraft during the refuelling stop.
From April 10, Malaysian Airlines will carry Dutch citizens from Australia to Kuala Lumpur, where they will will transfer to KLM flights home.
KLM last flew to Sydney under its own colours in 2001, but now has multiple codeshare partners on the route, including Qantas.
Dutch Rescue Effort
Dutch citizens stranded around the world and who wish to return to The Netherlands can register for assistance here.
© 2020 Bernard O’Riordan (Travel Instinct). All Rights Reserved.
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