-KLM Regional Director announces resumption of sales services, flights
After 26 years out of Liberia, the Regional Director of Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij, (KLM) or Royal Dutch Airlines has announced the inauguration of the general sales agent for the airline and flights to the county.
At the official launch on Thursday, April 20, Philippe Barbieri said the return of the airline means a lot to the country and its people.
“The airline is back in the country and we are here to stay for good,” Barbieri declared.
KLM closed its offices in the country during the start of the country’s civil unrest that lasted for 14 years, which claimed human capital and infrastructure.
Barbieri said based on the reception from Liberians and residents in the country since the arrival of the first flight on March 26 this year, “It showed that Liberians were eagerly waiting to do business with us again.”
“We are back, because for us, it is an important event towards Sierra Leone and Monrovia. We are a group of two big airlines, KLM and Air France. Monrovia is part of a big family of 51 destinations in Africa,” Barbieri said.
Barbieri, who is KLM’s regional director for Liberia, Sierra Leone, Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Senegal, is very confident that the new weekly air travel or service will bring positive benefits to Liberia.
Barbieri noted that with the friendly environment of Amsterdam airport, travelers from Liberia will easily be able to connect to any destination in Europe, the Americas, Asia and other parts of the world.
“It will contribute to the speedy economic growth of Liberia from the inauguration today of the general sales agent for the airlines in the country after 26 years,” he added.
Although the airlines started flight operations to Liberia on March 26, Barbieri said there has been tremendous encouragement since the maiden flight to Liberia.
“After few weeks of operations, we have reached 70 percent, and for the coming weeks until June, we expect to reach 78 percent. This is in accordance with our business skill and what we are expecting. People are coming and using KLM to fly to Europe and other parts of the world,” he said.
The flights, according to Mr. Barbieri, will take place three times a week (Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) between Amsterdam, Freetown and Monrovia and back to Amsterdam with the new Airbus 330-200s offering 267 seats including 18 seats in business class and 249 seats in economy.
“KLM is back in Liberia after 26 years. Last time a KLM aircraft landed in Monrovia was in 1990 …..but you all know what happened here in 1990 and we had to leave the country due to political situation and civil war,” Barbieri said.
He said the resumption means Liberia has a very good potential of doing business with clients in Northern Europe and the United States.
“KLM is good for this kind of traffic. This is why we chose Liberia. KLM Airlines serves 51 routes in Africa, and so there is a huge traffic; seven new destinations in Africa for Air France-KLM in 2007. We are back in Africa. If we are back, that means there is potential,” he reiterated.
The Royal Dutch Airlines plans to expand its African network and will compete with other world class airlines, while operating from Liberia, he said.
Yesterday’s ceremony was attended by the Minister of Information, Eugene Len Nagbe, who assured the airline’s management of government’s appreciation for coming back to the country.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, legally Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij N.V., is the flag carrier airline of the Netherlands. KLM is headquartered in Amstelveen, with its hub at nearby Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.