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KLM suspends all long-haul flights

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will no longer be flying between Amsterdam and Asia.

Dutch airline KLM will suspend all long-haul flights from Friday January 22. Some European flights will also be affected.

The move follows the Dutch government’s new requirement that all arrivals into the Netherlands now require a rapid coronavirus test before departure followed by a PCR test when they land.

Additional travel restrictions from Dutch authorities include a temporary ban on all flights to the United Kingdom, South Africa and South America. The moves come in the wake of coronavirus mutations that are wreaking havoc in Britain, South Africa and Brazil.

According to KLM, the rapid test regulation on departure makes it impossible to operate long-haul flights as air crew are also subject to testing.

“We cannot run the risk of our staff being stranded somewhere,” said KLM in a statement. “This is why we are stopping all intercontinental flights from Friday and all flights to European countries where crew members have to stay the night. As a good employer, we never leave crew behind abroad.”

The suspension applies to passenger, cargo and repatriation flights.

KLM normally operates arounds 270 long-haul flights a week, including services to both Hong Kong and Singapore. Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport is a major European hub. The airport will now be left effectively closed.

The Netherlands has registered 927,110 infections and more than 13,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. The country is currently under a lockdown which is due to remain in place until early February.


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