It seems that even in the heat of summer, the planned trial between KLM and Thalys for Amsterdam-Brussels transfer passengers has kicked off.
This cooperative venture is an important first step in KLM’s implementation of the Dutch government’s Action Plan for Rail and Air Services, with KLM removing one flight from its schedule.
KLM notes that nearly all passengers on this route are transfer passengers (ie, they have destinations beyond Amsterdam Schiphol).
This action plan was jointly released at the end of 2020 by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management in consultation with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, ProRail, KLM and NS Dutch Railways. The plan stipulates actions and measures ensuring that international rail travel becomes a logical alternative to supplement airline services on routes shorter than 700 kilometres.
It will be offered on the following train services:
Brussels – Amsterdam
- TH9357, daily except Saturdays, departs: 16:52, arrives: 18:25
- TH9351 on Saturdays, departs: 15:52, arrives: 17:25
Amsterdam – Brussels
- TH9376 daily except Saturdays – departs: 17:34, arrives 19:08
- TH9382 on Saturdays departs 18:34, arrives 20:08
KLM has offered transfers via train for some time – with up to 25% of passengers on the Amsterdam/Brussels route (circa (some 36,000 passengers ) chosing this option. This trial is aimed at improving the customer experience.
The airline is working with NS Dutch Railways and other European railway companies to explore the options of additional high-speed, comfortable rail services for transfer passengers to other destinations.
Ticketing is done on a single ticket, with KLM managing travel updates.
This trial is set to continue until 29 October 2022, after which an in-depth evaluation will take place, with the partners assessing options for further developing the air-rail product.
Boet Kreiken – Executive Vice President Customer Experience KLM said
The new air-rail product is the first concrete result of the Action Plan for Rail and Air Services. We’re proud of this achievement. Together with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, ProRail and NS Dutch Railways, we’re striving to ensure a seamless customer journey, with better connections between rail and air travel.
A mere dent, but a start
Removing a flight a day removes a number of seats in the air (depending on requirement – 737-700 132 seats, 737-800 176 seats, 737-900 178 seats) – a small dent, with the airline currently operating two flights a day (with various equipment).
It’s a start on how Thalys and KLM can work together. There are other options (such as working with DB and Eurostar too), to provide further connectivity from Amsterdam Schiphol (or Central).
One flight won’t make a dent in getting people off aircraft and onto trains for the shorter distance flights (least of all, the flights that KLM have are timed for connectivity wit the rest of the network). But it will allow the airline to understand the passenger impact and how to improve the service, as well as open up other opertunitiesif needed.
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