KLM celebrates 95 years

800_1prf0559KLM president and chief executive Camiel Eurling has commended the efforts of staff as the airline this month celebrates 95 years of operation.

First established on 7 October in 1919, the Dutch carrier is marking the occasion with a series of events and the construction of a new KLM World Business Class Lounge in Amsterdam, slated to open in 2016.  

The airline will also add a special anniversary logo to the widebody aircraft in its intercontinental fleet and open the doors to a dedicated KLM exhibition which showcases the airline’s past.

Eurling acknowledged the role of staff in shaping the airline, noting that staff loyalty has been the single greatest achievement over the past 95 years.

“I am extremely grateful to all KLM’s employees for their dedication the company. The blue spirit of our staff, combined with their enterprising attitudes and their resilience form the backbone of our KLM,” he said.

Speaking with travelBulletin this month, director of sales in the UK Simon Spinks identified sustainability as the greatest challenge for the airline, but he stressed that KLM was well aware of the need to innovate.

“KLM focuses on four key themes: reducing its impact on the environment; integration of sustainable development in products and services; fostering responsible personnel policy; and sustainable societal contributions,” he said.

The airline this year rolled out a series of new flights using sustainable biofuel and last year entered a new partnership with UNICEF as part of a broader humanitarian effort. It is also forging stronger relationships with partners including the Dutch chapter of the World Wide Fund for Nature to promote further biofuel developments.

“Sustainability is very important to KLM,” Eurling said, adding that the airline is consistently ranked as the most sustainable airline on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

Meanwhile, KLM is continuing to innovate new furnishings for its cabin interiors and is working with Dutch designers and chefs to improve its meal selection and amenity kits.