KLM TOPMAN PIETER ELBERS: betting on sustainable aviation
AMSTERDAM - Aviation will change drastically in the coming century. According to KLM CEO Pieter Elbers, at the moment that KLM celebrates its 200th anniversary, people mainly travel via means of transport such as the Hyperloop. "If there is still flying, it is electric."
Elbers was keynote on Tuesday evening during the annual Economy lecture by weekly magazine Elsevier, which was held in De Rode Hoed in Amsterdam. During his speech, Elbers sketched chronologically the development of aviation from his own experience; from his parents' honeymoon to Jersey and his own first flight with Transavia to Turkey to the moment he joined KLM, where he was allowed to usher in the 100th anniversary year more than a month ago.
Aviation is in full swing, as evidenced by the various themes that Elbers touched on, such as the sustainable ambitions of KLM, the plans to relocate Schiphol to the sea and the cooperation with Air France.
Regarding sustainability, Elbers stated that the share of aviation in global air pollution is relatively small, but that the sector must do everything it can to reduce it. Next year the annual meeting of the IATA will be held in Amsterdam, and Elbers wants to put sustainability high on the agenda there.
“We too, as KLM, are becoming more sustainable by investing in fuel-efficient aircraft. To be able to do that, we must continue to make a profit and continue to grow at Schiphol. "
Not in the North Sea
Asked what he thinks about building an airport in the North Sea, as a measure to monitor the balance between the growth of and noise pollution, a cautious sigh appears because he has to explain again why a sea airport is a waste of money in his eyes. “I am very cautious about this type of investment that costs billions. I prefer to invest that money in more fuel-efficient aircraft, which saves a lot more emissions. With Schiphol at sea we solve a little noise, but not the CO2 emissions. Let's first use the available capacity at Lelystad before we go to the sea. Before Schiphol is realized at sea we are so many years further and so many billions poorer that there are already other solutions. ”
Elbers uses the stage in De Rode Hoed to make it clear to visitors that aviation is one of the most important pillars of the prosperity of the Netherlands. "KLM will therefore continue to pioneer when it comes to relevant bodies for travelers."
Happy with Air France
The merger with Air France remains a recurring theme, certainly when it comes to financial results. Elbers still emphasizes the necessity of that merger. “Anyone who does not consolidate in time has lost the game. Air France and KLM have six hundred planes together, Delta Air Lines has 1,200, Chinese airlines are over 2,000. The collaboration with Air France was a good move and brought KLM a lot. ”
Link in Dutch
Interesting speech. So he foresees the end of aviation as we know it. It is a shame that we don't already have moved Schiphol to the North Sea, it would have been finished by now if it was started in de mid-1990s. The Netherlands is small, too small to do everything within its borders. So hard choices need to be made.
So how do you see this speech?