KLM will make a rare appearance in Australian skies next week as the Netherlands Government mounts a series of special repatriation flights between Sydney and Amsterdam.
Around 1,900 Dutch travellers are expected to be ferried home on the big bright blue Boeing 777-200ER, which will be the first time KLM has flown to Sydney in 20 years.
The charter flights will depart Sydney between April 5 and April 10 and journey via Kuala Lumpur.
It’s expected that passengers taking the Sydney-Amsterdam service will remain on the aircraft during the refuelling stop in Kuala Lumpur, so will be eager to stretch their legs upon arrival at Schiphol Airport after spending around 23 hours in their assigned seat.
“It is now the first time in 20 years that another KLM aircraft lands at Sydney Airport,” said KLM’s Chief Operations Officer Rene de Groot.
“We are proud to be meaningful in this way during this global crisis,” de Groot added.
The aircraft will fly into Sydney without any passengers on board, meaning that Australians currently in the Netherlands cannot use these flights to return home.
Passengers taking these flights from Australia will be charged a flat fee of €900 (about A$1,612), however, this amount can be paid after the journey takes place if need be.
Dutch citizens and residents take priority in securing seats on these flights, however, "non-Dutch people", such as other EU citizens, may also be able to travel on KLM's repatriation services from Australia if seats remain available.
Further KLM repatriation flights, in partnership with Malaysia Airlines
After April 10, KLM will instead rely on Malaysia Airlines to ferry passengers from Australia and New Zealand up to Kuala Lumpur, before joining one of four additional KLM repatriation flights from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam.
Dutch travellers still in Australia or New Zealand who cannot otherwise arrange their return to the Netherlands should register their details via the Dutch Government’s Special Assistance Abroad website, or call +31 247 247 247 (open 24/7, as the number implies).
This may assist in securing a place on one of KLM’s Sydney-Amsterdam repatriation flights, or a ticket on Malaysia Airlines to Kuala Lumpur and an onward seat aboard KLM to Amsterdam, when those flight plans are similarly locked down.
In recent days, other European carriers including Austrian Airlines and LOT Polish Airlines have also run repatriation flights from Australia to bring their citizens home, while others – such as Nepal Airlines – have run one-off flights Down Under to help stranded Aussies abroad.