KLM Returns to Colombia Market in Summer 2015

The new service will expand the KLM network in Latin America to eleven destinations but does not actually mark its debut in Colombia as the Dutch flag carrier previously served the Colombian capital, Bogota, from October 1992 until March 1995.

Dutch national carrier KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is to introduce a new link to the Colombian cities of Bogota and Cali from its Amsterdam Schiphol Airport hub. The SkyTeam alliance member will offer a three times weekly flight routing Amsterdam – Bogota – Cali – Amsterdam from March 31, 2015 operated by a Boeing 777-200 configured with 35 seats in World Business Class, 249 seats in Economy Class and 34 seats in the Economy Comfort Zone.

“South America certainly has caught our interest as we look to grow. After increasing frequencies to Ecuador and adding Santiago de Chile as a destination to KLM’s portfolio, expanding our services to Colombia fits our strategy,” said Pieter Elbers, chief operating officer and deputy chief executive officer, KLM.

The new service will expand the KLM network in Latin America to eleven destinations but does not actually mark its debut in Colombia as the Dutch flag carrier previously served the Colombian capital, Bogota, from October 1992 until March 1995. The three times weekly link will complement the daily flights of sister carrier Air France to Colombia from Paris or an offer with Copa Airlines via Panama City on KLM’s daily service between Amsterdam and Panama.

Next summer the Air France-KLM group will offer links to 15 destinations in Central and South America on departure from its joint Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris Charles de Gaulle hubs: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Panama City, Lima, Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile and Bogota (by both KLM and Air France), Quito, Guayaquil, Paramaribo and Cali (by KLM) and Brasilia, Caracas, Cayenne and Montevideo (by Air France).

Colombia is one of South America’s fastest growing economies and the country is focusing on developing business relations with Europe, supported by enhanced air connectivity. Bogota is the country’s administrative and business capital, while the third largest city of Cali is located near Colombia’s ‘coffee triangle’ famed for its many charming coffee farms set in stunning landscapes and principal gateway to Colombia’s largest Pacific port of Buenaventura.

In our analysis, below, we look in more detail at bi-directional O&D demand between Colombia and Europe. The data shows that passenger traffic over the past five years has grown 16.4 per cent, while non-stop seat capacity between Europe and Colombia has increased 30.4 per cent over the same period to almost 1.4 million seats in 2013.

It is unsurprising that the Spanish market dominates these traffic flows although its share of demand has declined from 57.8 per cent in 2008 to 51.8 per cent in 2013. With new flights between Europe and Colombia from the UK and the Netherlands this share will likely decline further in 2014 and 2015 but will remain the largest single country market. In the past five years the fastest growing European markets from Colombia have included Germany, Poland, Republic of Ireland, Czech Republic and Austria.

Data provided by Sabre