Air France-KLM Group to ground fleet of 747 and A380 aircraft, slash capacity by up to 90%

Mar 16, 2020

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The Air France-KLM Group will cut capacity between 70% and 90% amid the decrease in demand over the rapidly spreading coronavirus, which shows no sign of slowing down.

In a press release on Monday, the group said that it is “reducing its flight activity very significantly over the next few days”, by reducing the number of available seat kilometres (ASK) decreasing between 70% and 90%. The reduced capacity is currently scheduled to last two months, but that length could change.

As a result of the decreased demand, both Air France and KLM have been forced to ground their largest aircraft. For Air France, that means grounding its entire fleet of 10 Airbus A380 aircraft. For KLM, that means grounding its entire fleet of nine Boeing 747 aircraft.

In addition to the slashing of capacity and by grounding its fleet of A380 and 747 aircraft, the Air France-KLM Group also is taking measures to secure its cash flow.

The French and Dutch governments have noted that they are each studying the ways to support the Group, a measure that the Air France-KLM Group says it welcomes.

Air France and KLM have both been affected not only by the overall decline in demand, but especially by the new travel restrictions put in place by the U.S. government last week. As such, foreign nationals travelling from most European countries — including both France and the Netherlands — won’t be able to enter the U.S. for at least 30 days.

Additionally, over the weekend, France entered a lockdown, requiring shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities to close from Sunday.

Other carriers, including IAG (the group that own British Airways and Aer Lingus, among others), Virgin Atlantic, American, Delta and United have all been forced to slash their capacity as a result of the ongoing coronavirus.

Featured photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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