KLM picks Austin for new Amsterdam route
Austin has landed another high-profile international route, this time to Amsterdam on Dutch carrier KLM.
The service will begin May 4, with KLM operating three flights a week on 292-seat Airbus A330-300 wide-body jets. The planes have 30 business-class seats arranged in a 2x2x2 configuration. The 262 seats in economy are in a 2x4x2 layout and include 40 extra-legroom “Economy Comfort” seats. Flights will operate Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
For KLM, Austin will become its 19th North Atlantic route and its 13th to the United States.
In announcing the new Texas route, KLM touted its expanding presence across the Atlantic that's happening in conjunction with its joint-business partners.
"We have built up a robust transatlantic network thanks to our joint ventures with Air France and Delta Air Lines. We will continue to optimize this network,” KLM CEO Pieter Elbers said in a statement. “As part of this we launched services to Boston and Las Vegas in the summer and are now adding Austin to our North American destinations."
KLM’s other U.S. destinations are: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago O’Hare, Houston Bush Intercontinental, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York JFK, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Washington Dulles.
To fit Austin into the lineup at its Amsterdam hub, however, the carrier said “changes will be made to the long-haul KLM network to free up slots at Schiphol.” KLM did not specify what changes might be in store.
"KLM is faced with slot restrictions at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, so we continuously optimize our portfolio of destinations," the carrier added in a statement to TPG, though it did not offer further details.
For Austin, KLM becomes the newest addition to its own trans-Atlantic route map.
British Airways became the first carrier add regularly scheduled flights between Austin and Europe in 2014, when it launched service to London Heathrow. Now, the addition of Amsterdam gives Austin's fast-growing airport its fourth nonstop route to Europe. Lufthansa flies to Frankfurt while Norwegian Air offers seasonal service to London Gatwick.
In a statement, Austin–Bergstrom International Airport noted "KLM’s announcement follows Delta’s naming Austin a focus city and opening a SkyClub at AUS earlier this year. KLM and Delta are both members of the SkyTeam Alliance."
“KLM’s flights contribute to Austin-Bergstrom’s goal of connecting Austin to the world, and the world to Austin,” Austin airport director Jacqueline Yaft added. “Our recent 9-gate expansion gives AUS six new international-capable gates, and we look forward to growing those capabilities even more in the future as the airport itself expands.”