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Dutch Airline KLM Cuts 1,000 More Jobs, Cancels All Long-Haul Flights Indefinitely

Dutch Airline KLM Cuts 1,000 More Jobs, Cancels All Long-Haul Flights Indefinitely

The Dutch flag carrier KLM says it will be forced to axe 1,000 more jobs after the government of the Netherlands introduced even tougher new travel restrictions as officials fight to contain a surge of infections at home and the importation of new ‘mutant’ variants of the COVID-19 virus from abroad.

The new wave of job losses was announced shortly after KLM confirmed it would indefinitely suspend all long-haul flights from Friday. KLM said it would be impossible to operate flights following a decision by politicians in The Haugue to make passengers take two COVID-19 tests before they even step foot on a plane.

Photo Credit: KLM

For several weeks, passengers travelling to the Netherlands have needed to take a PCR test within 72-hours of departure and now, passengers from high-risk locations will also be required to take a rapid antigen test within four hours of departure.

KLM executives baulked at the plans given the fact that aircrew were not exempted from the testing rules. “As a good employer, we never leave crew behind abroad,” a spokesperson for KLM told RTL Nieuws about the prospect of abandoning crew who test positive just minutes before they were due to welcome passengers onboard.

The airline can continue to operate short-haul flights where crew don’t get off the plane but all European night-stops will have to be curtailed for the foreseeable future.

Flights from the UK are currently banned because of ‘mutant’ virus fears, along with flights from Brazil, much of South America and South Africa. The ban is expected to remain in force for at least one month but could be extended into March and beyond as scientists work to find out if the new variants are vaccine-resistant.

KLM chief executive Pieter Elbers told De Telegraaf that the new restrictions had sent KLM into “free fall” and more job losses could not be avoided. Around 500 cabin crew will be laid off, along with 100 pilots and between 200 to 400 ground staff. The new lay-off’s mean that KLM has shrunk by 6,000 employees since the start of the pandemic.

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