MPs back support for flag carrier KLM, which lost €1.8bn in Q1


A majority of MPs have backed the government’s plans to pump up to €4bn into rescuing Dutch flag carrier KLM, which has seen passenger traffic collapse since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

However, MPs from the right of the coalition – the VVD and CDA – said they were not in favour of making the support conditional, with extra guarantees in terms of sustainability and working conditions.

When the rescue move was announced last month, finance minister Wopke Hoekstra said the precise size and conditions for support for KLM still have to be agreed with both banks and the airline and that these conditions would involve commitments in terms of profit sharing, working conditions and sustainability.

‘But extra political wishes are not appropriate at this time,’ VVD MP Roald van der Linde said. While being willing to think about boosting sustainability in return for support, KLM should ‘not be disadvantaged with conditions that do not apply to other airlines,’ he said during Wednesday’s debate.

Hoekstra has said that it is up to KLM to suggest what form the extra conditions might take and how they could be applied. And, he told MPs on Wednesday, KLM’s partners, such as Schiphol airport, kerosine suppliers and airplane leasing companies should also be prepared to contribute.

‘It is only fair if others in the chain contribute, if we save a company,’ he said.

Meanwhile, KLM said on Thursday it had booked a net loss of €1.8bn in the first three months of this year, compared with a loss of €320m in the year earlier period.

The airline is now starting up limited passenger services to a number of European destinations.

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