KLM expands in the Northeast

From March 27 2011, travellers in the northeast of England will benefit from an extra daily flight from Newcastle Airport to Amsterdam Schiphol in the Netherlands, courtesy of Dutch airline KLM. The carrier says that the boost is a “tangible symbol” of KLM’s strength and popularity in the northeast.

KLM, known as Royal Dutch Airlines in the English-speaking world, is the oldest airline on the planet. The blue and white carrier is also one of just nine world airlines founded before 1930 to have kept its original name throughout its life, alongside Australian airline Qantas, founded in 1920, and ex-Soviet carrier Aeroflot.

History lesson aside, Newcastle is one of KLM’s largest bases in the UK, currently offering four daily flights to Amsterdam. The addition of a fifth rotation from March will boost KLM’s capacity on the route by a quarter over summer 2010. Newcastle’s planning director, Graeme Mason, referred to the expansion as a “strong signal of confidence” in the airport.

German airline Lufthansa has also showered praise on the northeast hub, according to Graeme. The director noted that only the December snows had prevented the airport recording year-on-year growth. The hub stands in stark contrast to its neighbour and rival Durham Tees Valley Airport, which has resorted to charging travellers to pass through security in a desperate attempt to survive the winter.

The flight boost at Newcastle will coincide with a general reshuffling of KLM’s schedules at the airport. Flight times on all Newcastle-Amsterdam connections will change at the end of March, with the earliest departure taking off at 06:05. Passengers can choose to return the same day from the Dutch capital at 21:55.

KLM has also pledged to improve the choice of flights available for travellers who want to travel on to Hong Kong and Dubai from Amsterdam.

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