KLM has purchased additional seats on four Thalys trains for transfer passengers travelling between Amsterdam and Brussels this summer. The extra seats form part of KLM’s efforts to scale down its four daily flights still operated between Amsterdam and Brussels. The extended air/rail product will be available from 26 March.
This capacity expansion follows the KLM-Thalys pilot project (July to October 2022), when the airline replaced one of its daily flights between Amsterdam and Brussels with a rail service. Starting 26 March, passengers transferring between Amsterdam and Brussels will enjoy more opportunities to travel by rail instead of air on this route, with the integrated air/rail product being offered on five different trains.
Action Plan for Rail and Air Services
KLM is a staunch advocate of the Dutch Action Plan for Rail and Air Services, aimed at improving international train travel as an alternative to flying at six priority destinations (Brussels, Paris, London, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Berlin). The Action Plan was drawn up in late 2020 by Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Dutch rail network operator ProRail, KLM and NS Dutch Railways. KLM’s approach to sustainability focuses on reducing emissions and noise impact, and the ongoing development of its air/rail product forms part of these efforts.
Evaluation of pilot
During the 2022 pilot, customer surveys showed that several improvements were needed such as easier transfers for air/rail passengers at Schiphol, assists for rail customers with luggage, and communication with customers – especially non-European passengers, who are often unfamiliar with Thalys. These obstacles must be removed before KLM can permanently replace flights to and from Brussels with rail capacity. To accomplish this, KLM will need all of its Action Plan partners to cooperate. After all, it has no control over the trains, the railway platforms or the airport.