The CEO of Dutch airline KLM, Marjan Rintel, is urging passengers to opt for train travel instead of short-haul flights, citing climate change as the driving force behind the initiative. KLM is even considering purchasing train tickets for passengers traveling between Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport and Brussels.
Rintel expressed a strong willingness to discontinue flights to Brussels if there are reliable train connections that reach Schiphol and operate on weekends. This strategic move aligns with the increasing pressure on airlines to reduce their carbon footprint, with rail travel offering a much cleaner alternative for short-distance journeys.
KLM faces an additional challenge as Schiphol Airport nears its maximum capacity, leading the Dutch government to impose limits on take-offs and landings to address noise pollution concerns. Victor Thévenet from the climate group Transport & Environment emphasized the significant environmental impact, noting that flights between Brussels and Amsterdam produce 14 times the carbon emissions of train journeys.
Rintel's approach aligns with the European Commission's ambitious goal of achieving carbon neutrality for journeys under 500 kilometers by 2030. However, the transition from flights to trains encounters obstacles, particularly regarding the availability of rail services during mornings and weekends. Rintel acknowledged the need to address these challenges and expressed a strong desire to implement the change as soon as possible. As part of KLM's efforts, the airline has already purchased seats on the Thalys high-speed train.
KLM is not alone in exploring alternatives to flights. Germany's Lufthansa has long collaborated with state-owned Deutsche Bahn to offer train connections from the Frankfurt hub, while KLM's sister airline, Air France, has a similar partnership with SNCF.