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Sierra Leone News: KLM stops flights to Freetown, Monrovia 

Royal Dutch Airlines KLM has on the 29th of March 2019; stop flying to Freetown and Liberia. According to them the move is to make way for their new American route. The move is not totally unexpected because since last year, they had announced they will stop their three times a week flights to the two West African countries, because the number of passengers using the airline on its mainly European route was not encouraging and KLM believes that this route was not profitable.  The Dutch carrier had made this decision in order to add a new flight service to the American city of Las Vegas. This development may not be unconnected to the fact that Sierra Leone is one of the least favoured destinations for tourism on the continent, comparing very poorly to the Gambia and Senegal. Fewer than 200 passengers arrive every day at Sierra Leone’s Lungi International Airport, and this is bad business for international flight carriers. But carriers such as Air France, Air Maroc, Turkish Airlines, and Brussels Airlines will continue their services to the West African cities. According to a report by Air Transport World (ATW), the Dutch SkyTeam carrier KLM  stopped services to Freetown and Monrovia now to free up capacity for 3X-weekly flights between Amsterdam and Las Vegas. “In order to open Las Vegas as a new destination, changes had to be made to KLM’s network. KLM was forced to revise its portfolio of destinations sooner than expected partly because of Schiphol’s slot restrictions. “From March 29, 2019, KLM will stop flying to Freetown and Monrovia. While the Freetown/Monrovia route launched in 2017 would have previously been given more time to grow in terms of performance, KLM is now compelled to deploy its fleet and slots differently,” KLM said, announcing the cuts. Air France will continue to operate a direct service to Freetown from Paris Charles de Gaulle. In place of the two West African links, KLM is adding 2X-weekly Las Vegas from June 6, 2019, building to 3X-weekly on July 2, 2019. “Las Vegas will become KLM’s 18th North Atlantic destination,” KLM president and CEO Pieter Elbers said. He added the new route will increase access to US west-coast connecting flights. The route will be served by 294-seat Boeing 787-9s, with 30 seats in world business class, 45 in economy comfort and 219 in economy. “The new KLM flights will extend Air France-KLM’s transatlantic network and strengthen its joint venture portfolio with Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines,” Pieter Elbers said.

Monday April 08, 2019


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