After 20 years, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is back on the coast of Trinidad and Tobago.
The airline now operates flights between Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and Piarco International Airport in Trinidad.
The airline currently operates three weekly flights, on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, from the Netherlands to Trinidad and Tobago, with a stopover in Barbados.
KLM operates an extensive network that includes services in Europe and to Asia, Africa, North America, Central and South America and the Middle East.
Speaking to the Caribbean Journal on Friday, Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell said the ministry was satisfied with the flight’s performance so far.
âOur data shows it is performing well above our expectations and this is especially encouraging at a time when the industry is recovering,â Mitchell said.
He said early bookings are currently at 60 percent, showing significant interest in Trinidad and Tobago and testifying to the attractiveness of the destination.
When asked what he thought of KLM’s return to the country, Mitchell said: âThis is a new market for Trinidad and we also intend to capitalize on the connections offered by the Schiphol Hub. This flight has opened up a lot of possibilities to target other non-traditional source markets. Early data shows people are not only coming from Amsterdam, but from Asia and other parts of Europe.
The Caribbean Journal met two travelers from the Netherlands at Piarco International Airport last Friday for a wedding that took place over the weekend.
Jamie De Jong and Sophie Bakker said the flight took just over 9 hours but the flight went smoothly and the flight attendants were friendly and efficient.
âWhen we arrived at Piarco International Airport, all COVID-19 protocols were in place and we were successful quickly. The airport staff were warm and welcoming. The taxi service to our hotel was also very efficient and the driver told us about the rich culture of Trinidad and Tobago, âsaid De Jong and Bakker.
Trinidad Airport Authority vice president James Philbert told CJ that the introduction of this route could lead to reduced travel costs to Europe through increased competition with the addition of a new carrier.
Philbert said travelers can also expect faster times to reach their final destinations, as Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) is a major European hub, which offers direct connections to cities in Europe and around the world. .
âThe courtship to bring KLM Airlines back to these shores after more than 20 years of absence began in 2019 and involved a collaborative effort of tourism agencies from Trinidad and Tobago, the Embassy of the Netherlands and “We have persevered even amid the challenges of the global Covid-19 pandemic and have remained engaged even during border closures and existential uncertainty in the aviation industry,” says Philbert.
The route, he noted, was essential in making Piarco International Airport the main air transport hub in the southern Caribbean.
âPort of Spain is already a gateway to the Americas and the Caribbean, while Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport is a key hub in Europe. This new link creates greater opportunities for connectivity and accessibility to markets in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, âsaid Philbert.
The Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the TT RaphaÃ«l Varga van KibÃ¨dVan KibÃ¨d said he was delighted that the road has been established.
âAs Ambassador of the Netherlands, it is a pleasure to have participated in making this direct connection between our two countries. In these difficult pandemic times, it takes great foresight and courageous decisions to enter a future with new adventures, âsaid van KibÃ¨d.
He said traveling was not just about tourism, but the direct connection would also mean increased business opportunities between the two countries.