Joost From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 3138 posts, RR: 4 Posted (5 years 4 months 1 week ago) and read 4693 times:
Today, KLM announced that per the winter season, flights between Amsterdam and Maastricht will be ceased. This will mean the end of the era of scheduled domestic flights in the Netherlands.
The flight is currently operated 3 times a day by F50 aircraft. The route has been operated (almost) continuously since 1966. First by NLM Cityhopper, that later became KLM Cityhopper. Then, for a couple of years, the route has been operated by Air Exel, becoming KLM Exel (franchise). After the demise of the Air Exel group, KLM Cityhopper took over the route again.
Earlier this year, VLM ceased operations on the AMS-GRQ route. In 2006, KLM already chopped the AMS-EIN route.
At luchtvaartnieuws.nl, KLM mentions that they want to provide a quick rail link with Schiphol airport. I really wonder how they will be able to do that.
Currently, passengers are required to change trains at Amsterdam Central or Utrecht Central to get to Schiphol. Only during the morning and evening rush, there are two direct trains between Maastricht and Schiphol. (Maastricht-Schiphol in the morning, Schiphol-Maastricht in the afternoon, as extensions to the Schiphol-Eindhoven train). Maybe they'll lobby at the Dutch railways to run this extension the whole day?
Vfw614 From Germany, joined Dec 2001, 3772 posts, RR: 5 Reply 4, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week ago) and read 4604 times:
Trains from Maastricht to Schiphol take currently 2:50 minutes with a 7 minute stop-over at Amsterdam Centraal.
You can get quicker by train from Maastricht to both BRU and DUS. BRU takes 1:49 with one change, DUS can be as quick as 2:24, albeit with 3 connections. So it will really be necessary that KLM is able to offer nonstop trains to have a competitive edge over the competition
Joost From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 3138 posts, RR: 4 Reply 5, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week ago) and read 4550 times:
Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 2): If they can run trains in the rush hour, then surely it is technically possible to do so at other times.
It's surely possible. There might be some interference with cargo trains (rush hours trains often use cargo slots) but that's about it.
The problem is more the capacity increase. The Schiphol-Eindhoven trains (every 30 minutes) run with VIRM-type trains. These are available in 400- and 600-seat variants. So when they would extend the series to Schiphol-Maastricht for the whole day, this would mean that they would add 800 seats per hour per direction on the Eindhoven-Maastricht segment. And that doesn't really seem economically viable. There is already a Maastricht-Amsterdam Central train service, running every 30 minutes.
From December 15, the connection Maastricht-Schiphol will be more convenient as a seamless cross-platform connection will be offered at Utrecht Central, cutting 11 minutes from the travel time.
Joost From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 3138 posts, RR: 4 Reply 7, posted (5 years 4 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 4489 times:
Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 6): Unless these trains and F50 are normally pretty full, there may be no need for any extra capacity.
The F50s have seen a l/f below 50% that's one of the reasons to stop the route.
Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 6):
I think that the key here for KLM is maximising use of slots.
That's also playing a role. But the low load factors, high fuel prices and eco tax don't help the case either.
I personally expect BRU to be axed as well once the High speed train to Brussels is operational. KLM owns 10% of the stakes in NS Hispeed, the future operator of the HST route Amsterdam-Schiphol-Rotterdam-Antwerp-Brussels.
Adicool From Netherlands, joined Apr 2007, 278 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (5 years 4 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 4394 times:
I have to say, I'm a big fan of aviation and all, but as I live myself in Amsterdam I think it's the right thing to stop all domestic routes in the Netherlands. The country is smaller than my home state Lower Saxony in Germany and we would never ever think about domestic routes in my home state. If you live in Maastricht or Gronigen and you wanna fly, then you take either the train (very convenient from Gronigen to Schipohl, runs every 40 minutes) or car to AMS. And especially in Maastricht you can easy access other airports in the area like DUS. Thinking about the high oil prices and the pollution of the environment, I think it's the right thing to do.
Ikarus2006 From Netherlands, joined Apr 2006, 187 posts, RR: 0 Reply 9, posted (5 years 4 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 4367 times:
I kind of expected such news. After all Maastricht is not such a huge center for business or international tourism. Tourists come yes from abroad but the majority is driving there from nearby Germany (NRW), Belgium, and France.
Speaking of business, When you take away the University and Hospital (UMC) which looks like the largest employer in town, the people working in the HORECA (restaurants , hotels etc) are mostly locals, and even Vodafone decided to move its offices to Amsterdam.
So, with few exceptions like Ned Car, Mosa and Sappi, I see the decision of KLM as logical.
I was actually this morning on the train from Maastricht to Schiphol, a comfortable one with respect to the slightly more noisy double deck which runs between Maastricht and Amsterdam Central.
Personally, I prefer to go to BRU, FRA or CDG, but this has to do not only with the train connection with usual stop in Utrecht, but also with the fact I fly *A as often as I can.
As for the connection to BRU, it is OK, not super fast but acceptable, although you still need to change train once in Brussels.
Going to CGN is a nightmare if you do not have a car. Train connection is awful.
I would not blame KLM so much as the director of Maastricht Airport is doing, but the City itself for its lazy attitude towards business - let's face it: Maastricht is known for its restaurants (which are actually offering a quite average variety of French/Dutch/Mediterranean menu, with few expensive and rare exceptions) and for the fact people here take their time to do things (hence the say "the 15 minutes of Maastricht" indicating the usually accepted delay in appointments...) and enjoy life. It is NOT known as a place to start up new businesses also because people are very, and I repeat, very close to the ones coming from outside Limburg. So much that even for technical position they would refuse hiring high profile professionals just because they do not speak the local dialect - so much about united Europe in 2008.
So, if a city/region decides to close itself in its pride and traditions looking at the rest of the Netherlands with snob attitude, despite the so much advertised Euroregio facade, do not blame an airline if they see little business down there...
Vfw614 From Germany, joined Dec 2001, 3772 posts, RR: 5 Reply 11, posted (5 years 4 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 4177 times:
I guess KLM does not see a real risk that any other alliance would consider flights from either EIN or MST to one of its hubs. Such a competing hub link could be reason to keep a feeder flight, but apparently there is no concern. The question of sufficient demand aside, the advantage is of course that neither BA nor LH would waste slots for feeder flights from the Netherlands to LHR or FRA. But maybe at one point MUC on LH would make some sense, but probably only from EIN, if at all. Generally speaking, because of the proximity of either BRU or AMS, Benelux seems to be a pretty tricky market for hub connections from regional airports.
Joost From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 3138 posts, RR: 4 Reply 12, posted (5 years 4 months 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 4137 times:
Quoting Vfw614 (Reply 11): Generally speaking, because of the proximity of either BRU or AMS, Benelux seems to be a pretty tricky market for hub connections from regional airports.
That's true, indeed. Hub feeders have historically not been very successful in the Netherlands.
After the AF-KL merger, AF has operated EIN-CDG hub feeder flights. (3 daily by ATR). It was no success and the service was ceased.
KL has operated RTM-CDG for a while, also partly aimed at connections. No success either and quickly dropped.
After the launch of CDG-EIN, AF has mentioned interest in CDG-ENS, in case of good results on the EIN route. Needless to say that we won't see CDG-ENS.
SK has operated RTM-CPH for one or 2 seasons, IIRC around 1998. Again, no success.
At the time of the KL-AZ partnership, Air Exel has operated MST-MXP and (IIRC) EIN-MXP. No success. IIRC, Air Exel has also been flying MST-MUC for a short time, but I'm not sure.
Indeed, with the proximity of AMS, BRU and also DUS, it is often easier to go by car or train to one of the big airports and take a direct flight from there, rather then to change planes at some hub.
One of the reasons for the lack of these flights is also that population and businesses in the Netherlands are spread all over the country. It's not that EIN is there because of Eindhoven, it's more that there is an airport for the south-eastern part of the country. Here, the population has the choice among several airports to fly from. That's also the reason why FR flights work well from EIN (they attract people from a large region, competing on price with AMS, BRU and DUS).
Joost From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 3138 posts, RR: 4 Reply 13, posted (5 years 4 months 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 4130 times:
Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 10): If L/F is only 50%, then that translates to 75-100 passengers daily. I am sure that the existing trains can absorb that much.
Oh definitely. I only touched the subject, as KLM mentioned that they wanted to improve train services between Schiphol and Maastricht, and I wondered how. In the existing trains, the ceased KLM operations won't even be noticed.