Photo: Winter scene at the AMS hub.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines issued this financial report for 2020:
“2020 was an incredibly tough year for KLM and its people. The relentless COVID pandemic brought KLM’s network to a virtual standstill in April and led to unprecedented losses and increased debt. We had to recalibrate many of our ambitions and constantly adjust our plans. Given the strategic importance of the KLM network for the Netherlands, the government has supported us with loans and guarantees on credit facilities. The NOW scheme has also helped us greatly. Nevertheless, it was with pain in our hearts that we had to say goodbye to more than 5,000 hard-working and dedicated colleagues in 2020. They were part of the blue KLM family.
At the same time, we as KLM are proud that we were able to make an important contribution in 2020 by repatriating 250,000 Dutch people and fellow Europeans and by bringing so many essential medical supplies to the Netherlands with (extra) cargo flights. KLM’s response to the COVID pandemic was a testament to our resilience, creativity and agility.
The consequences of this pandemic are clearly visible in the 2020 figures. KLM’s turnover fell by 54% to €5 billion. While our anniversary year saw a record 35 million customers, in 2020 only 11 million customers travelled with KLM. KLM’s total operational result came in at a loss of €1.2 billion, despite the fact that the cargo division managed to improve its margins as a result of the strong increase in demand for cargo capacity.
KLM’s financial results show how serious the situation is. Thanks to the support of the Dutch government, KLM has been able to maintain its financial liquidity. I know that I speak for everyone at KLM when I say that we are very grateful to the government and, through it, to Dutch society. The KLM people, in turn, have made their contribution by agreeing to the far-reaching conditions of this financial lifeline from government and banks.
The world of aviation will look very different for a longer period of time, with less traffic and pressure on revenues. This year has also started much less well than we had initially anticipated. Despite that, and looking to the second half of 2021, I sense cautious optimism and hope. People will start flying again and slowly but surely KLM will be able to fly the global network again with all the options available to its customers. KLM’s ambition is not only to survive, but also to remain an important and responsible player in the airline industry after the crisis. To achieve this, a restructuring plan has been drawn up, called ‘From More to Better’. The restructuring plan is agile, based on different market and recovery scenarios, and will allow us to be flexible and create opportunities in the areas of customer experience, digitalization, sustainability and technology.
With the help of our loyal customers and committed staff, KLM will weather this storm and get better, continuing to fulfil its important social and economic role for Dutch society. We will continue to pursue our ambitions and lead the way in sustainability and innovation. The Netherlands can continue to count on our full commitment and contribution when it comes to realizing these ambitions.”