"The Air France-KLM group (AF-KL) has pledged to remain in the maindeck cargo business, despite further reductions in its freighter complement. In a media briefing at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, Erik Varwijk, executive VP of Air France-KLM-Martinair Cargo, said that over the next two years, the group will shed four of its current 14 freighters.
By 2015 there will be eight KLM and Martinair freighters based at Schiphol and two Air France freighters based at Paris Charles de Gaulle. Air France is phasing out its last B747s while Martinair is losing a B747-400ERF, operated on lease from KLM, and an MD-11 freighter.
If it succeeds, the tactic will boost revenue. The group hopes it can shift customers away from the all-in rates that have become prevalent by keeping the process transparent. Varwijk said forwarders had responded “positively”, but accepts that only time will tell.
Interesting to note that KL is to complete the installation of new flatbed J seats in its 74M aircraft in 2014, the first of which will then be phased out only two years later.
The A380's lack of cargo capacity is also noteworthy, and does not exactly enhance its competitiveness.