Today marks the 80th anniversary of KLM’s operation from Manchester Airport to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, connecting the North West of England to the Dutch capital and onwards to KLM’s extensive network of 165 destinations worldwide.
KLM’s Manchester to Amsterdam route was first launched on 27th June 1938, two days after the opening of Ringway Airport, as Manchester Airport used to be known, making KLM the first International carrier to operate from the northern hub. The Dutch national carrier is the world’s oldest airline still operating under the same name and will celebrate its 100th birthday in October 2019.
Back in 1938, the route was operated by a Douglas DC2 aircraft and carried up to 14 passengers – a far cry from today’s daily capacity of 1600 passengers on the Manchester to Amsterdam route. Today, the route is operated by a mix of Boeing 737, Embraer 175 and Embraer 190 aircraft.
Bénédicte Duval, General Manager of Air France KLM UK & Ireland commented on the anniversary: “Having been the first International carrier to operate from Manchester Airport, we are delighted to today be celebrating 80 years of linking Manchester to the World. Demand for efficient, seamless travel has grown rapidly throughout the years and KLM now operates six daily flights between Manchester and Amsterdam.
In 2017 alone, we carried over half a million passengers between the two cities. 62% of these passengers connect at Schiphol Airport onto flights across our extensive worldwide network, clearly indicating how important global connectivity is for the region. And of course, this works both directions, frequent daily flights and smooth connections bring thousands of overseas visitors to the North West every year and we are proud to continue supporting tourism and local business in the region”
With a catchment area encompassing 22 million people, Manchester Airport is currently the UK’s third largest airport and the largest outside London. With KLM now operating up to six daily flights between Manchester and the Dutch capital, Amsterdam currently sits in third position on Manchester Airport’s top 10 destination list, just behind Dubai and Dublin.
Stephen Turner, Commercial Director at Manchester Airport, said: “Celebrating our 80th birthday has been incredibly poignant here at Manchester Airport as we look back over the last eight decades, but also look to what the future will bring as part of our £1bn transformation.
The milestone has also given us the opportunity to thank partners who contribute to our success, so it’s incredibly pleasing to see KLM mark the anniversary of the first commercial flight from Manchester all those years ago. Back then the first flight went from Blackpool, to Liverpool, to here, on to Doncaster, then finally Amsterdam, I’m sure passengers these days are much happier it goes direct in just over an hour to the Dutch capital.”
Currently, KLM operates 41 departures a week from Manchester Airport to Amsterdam, with top long haul destinations including Shanghai, Lagos and Accra. The top European destinations are Bergen, Moscow and Oslo. KLM offers online check-in, allocated seating and complimentary in-flight drinks and snacks on all flights.
To mark this important milestone and thank the local community for their business over the last 80 years, KLM today celebrated with its passengers in Terminal 3 and on board all flights between Manchester and Amsterdam with special KLM loves MCR branded cupcakes and chocolates. Customers were invited to spin the Wheel of Fortune for a chance to win pairs of tickets to Amsterdam.