A day later than planned KLM has taken delivery of its first Boeing 787-10 on June 29, bringing the aircraft home to Amsterdam Schiphol in the morning of June 30. The absence of the longest version of the Dreamliner kind of spoiled KLM’s party on the 29th, as the special liveried ‘100 years’ aircraft was meant to kick-off the 100-days to 100-years KLM party. The orange/blue 777-300ER took the honors instead.
KLM will host a range of special events and staff parties until the actual centenary celebrations on October 7, but President and CEO Pieter Elbers used June 29 to launch the ‘Fly Responsibly’-campaign. While flying more passengers than ever before each year, KLM is aware that public opinion of flying has been changing over recent years. Especially in The Netherlands a growing number of people is critical of the apparently unlimited growth of aviation and wishes to curb this by limiting flights at Schiphol. The opening of its satellite airport at Lelystad for leisure traffic – originally planned for April 2018 – has become one of the most debated topics among environmentalists and within Dutch parliament. Another delay from April 2020 and even not opening Lelystad at all have become realistic options.
While KLM says to have been aware of the environmental impact of flying and has responded with its own CO2-compensation scheme and biofuel initiatives, the airline has now stepped up the initiative with a new public awareness campaign. In an open letter published on June 29 and accompanying online campaign KLM asks people to fly responsibly: think if you really need to fly, travel by train if you can, compensate carbon dioxide emissions. Elbers invited other airlines to join KLM’s CO2ZERO compensation scheme. While this is KLM’s initiative, other airlines have been voicing similar concerns but so far have not taken a step the way the Dutch airline has. At its AGM in Seoul on June 2, IATA members again called on governments to implement ICAO’s CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme which will be introduced on a voluntary basis next year.
The arrival of 787-10 ‘Orange Blossom’ at Schiphol on June 30. (KLM)
The delayed arrival of the Boeing 787-10 means a new sub-type has joined the KLM-fleet. The airline originally ordered 7 dash 10s to complement its 787-9s but converted an option from a -9 to a -10 to make it 8. Last June it agreed to get a 9th through Air Lease Corporation from 2021.
KLM has now confirmed that by 2023 it will have a fleet of 13 787-9s and 15 787-10s, meaning that 7 Airbus A350-900s originally ordered by Air France-KLM in 2013 for KLM will join its French partner. Elbers agreed that a single Dreamliner-fleet involves some operational risks, but stressed the economic benefits it has. All Dreamliners are powered by General Electric GEnx-1B engines.
The 344-seat 787-10 is set to enter service on July 2 to Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam as well as to Dubai later this week.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.