The dramatic consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak for the airline industry are more pronounced in KLM’s figures for the second quarter as opposed to the first quarter. Cargo business is performing well, but passenger operations have yet to display any form of structural recovery despite the fact that KLM gradually and carefully expands its network.
Passenger numbers fell by 95% in the second quarter of 2020, from over 9 million to less than half a million. Operating income amounted to a loss of €493 million. During the same period in 2019, we earned €270 million in profit.
The figures for the first half-year reflect a marginally more favourable picture, because KLM performed well in January and February before the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. Nonetheless, KLM’s turnover almost halved to a figure of €2.8 billion in the first six months of 2020 in comparison with the same period in 2019.
Operating income amounted to a loss of €768 million for the first half-year, compared to a profit of €223 million for the same period in 2019. A decline of almost €1 billion.
Capacity fell by more than 50%, coupled with a decline in passenger numbers of more than 60% to a figure of 8.1 million for the KLM Group as whole. Of this figure, KLM transported 6.7 million passengers and Transavia 1.4 million. Cargo performed relatively well: cargo volume amounted to 229,550 tonnes, representing a 22.3% decline. Despite reduced (belly) capacity, flights to a range of destinations only carried cargo instead of passengers. Cargo was also carried in the cabins of passenger aircraft.