I still remember when KLM used to fly the AMS
route (currently AMS
) with the 744.
KLM was already flying AMS
but they added the extension to GUA
since the DC-10 flights to GUA
via the Caribbean had been cancelled due to the DC10's retirement.
The flights started with only 2 weekly frequencies since KLM didn't have local traffic rights for the MEX
legs. The 744s used for the route were Combis (about 290 seats).
After some time, KLM announced that they had obtained those traffic rights and immediately started selling tickets for MEX
flights and added a third weekly flight, being this new frequency operated with a 744 featuring an all-passenger cabin (428 seats by then).
Their results were excellent, and after some more time they had 5 weekly flights to GUA
, 3 of them operated with 744 Combi and the remaining 2 operated with all-pax 744s.
While this happened, Mexicana had downgraded ther equipment on some of the MEX
flights from B727 to F100 and KLM was also taking the cake on the Cargo area.
When I arrived to GUA
in the mid 90s I flew KLM on this route a lot, and the loads on the MEX
flights were always good...about 75% of the seats were occupied which is not bad at all for a 428-seat 747-400 (yes, I always selected the dates when the full-pax 744 were used since I didn't like the Combi's "shortened cabin").
During this time of great success, KLM also started to offer excellent fares on those flights, with some special offers of $99,00 round trip while MX
was charging more than $300,00. Mexicana started offering better fares later, but never matched KLM's fares, and of course, people preferred to fly on the huge 744 (In fact this was the most important motto for KLM's advertising campaigns to promote the flights).
What happened then? Well...the Mexican government cancelled the traffic rights for KLM on the GUA
flights and only let them carry freight with some restrictions.
The first thing KLM did was to change their equipment and operate the GUA
flights only with Combi aircraft (bye bye to the 428-seater). The passenger loads dropped dramatically, and I still remember that during one of my last flights on that route we had departed AMS
with a full pax load for the flight to MEX
, and for the MEX
leg there were only 28 passengers on board...of course all of them coming from AMS
, me included.
And finally, after some time, KLM decided to drop the route and stay only with the AMS
flights, which has always been a succesful route AFAIK.
This was the end for KLM's pressence in GUA
, which had started back in 1976 with DC-10 flights.