THE Dutch government has said it will throw national carrier KLM a €3.4 billion lifeline to help the airline survive the dramatic aviation slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Finance minister Wopke Hoekstra said the support package is made up of a €1 billion (£903 million) loan and €2.4 billion (£2.1 billion) in guarantees for bank loans.
It’s not all plain sailing though, there are strings attached to the bailout, with the Dutch government setting conditions including that KLM must cut costs by 15 per cent, improve the airline’s sustainability and reduce the number of night flights it carries out at the national airport, Schiphol, on the outskirts of Amsterdam.
Mr Hoekstra said that the cost-cutting order means that job losses at the carrier, which employs some 30,000 people, are “likely unavoidable”.
The Dutch announcement came a day after shareholders of German carrier Lufthansa approved a €9 billion rescue package that will see the German government take a 20 per cent stake after management told them the airline was running out of money and faced years of reduced demand for air travel.
The Dutch government said that the package must be approved by the European Commission.
“We hope and expect that will happen in the coming days,” Mr Hoekstra said.