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CityJet and VLM Airlines, both part of the AIR FRANCE KLM group, have unveiled their plans to optimise their services to the Netherlands in 2009.
From 5th January, 2009 all flights from London City Airport to Amsterdam – which were previously operated by VLM Airlines and KLM Cityhopper - will be operated by CityJet using AVRO RJ-85 aircraft with brand new interiors.
The aircraft will be congifured with 95 seats, with a choice of Business Class and Economy Class. CityJet will offer eight return flights every weekday, with one service on Saturdays and four on Sundays.
The flights between London City and Amsterdam will be operated as a VLM Airlines and KLM code share, and will continue to be sold through the VLM Airlines and KLM websites, and other sales channels
VLM Airlines will offer 8 return flights every weekday between London City and Rotterdam from 5th January, 2009. An additional aircraft will be stationed at Rotterdam Airport to operate charter flights. VLM Airlines' charter division, which offers tailor-made flight services, has grown successfully in 2008.
From 12th January, VLM Airlines will commence a twice-weekday service from London City Airport to Eindhoven, taking over the service currently offered by CityJet.
Both regional business airlines will be working very closely together to sustain the high level of quality that their customers are accustomed to. The complimentary services offered onboard will continue and studies have been launched to see if a business class product should be introduced on all services, as it is currently on the London City – Amsterdam route. The professionalism and friendliness of the cabin crew will remain one of the main assets of both airlines.
Bram Gräber, Senior Vice President Area Manager Benelux of Air France - KLM comments: “With both airlines having won major awards in 2008, frequent business passengers will receive the excellent service they are accustomed to throughout our joint network”.
Existing sales channels remain unchanged with online bookings for flights throughout the CityJet / VLM Airlines network possible via both websites www.flyvlm.com and www.cityjet.com ,A combined website is being developed and will be unveiled by the end of the year.
VLM Airlines is also examining becoming a member of Flying Blue, the frequent flyer programme of Air France – KLM. This will offer an extra advantage to the regular business customers in the Netherlands, many of whom are already members of this loyalty programme via KLM. The transition from the VLM Encore programme to the Flying Blue program will be defined in the coming months.
Johan Vanneste, Managing Director of VLM Airlines comments: “We are very pleased to see that the takeover of our company is having a positive effect for our customers. The AVRO RJ-85 aircraft that will be used on the London City - Amsterdam route will offer superior comfort to our passengers, whilst the Flying Blue frequent flyer programme will offer all our customers a loyalty program with excellent reward possibilities.”
Geoffrey O’Byrne-White, CEO of CityJet said: “This is a very important development for us. The Amsterdam – London City route is already firmly established with a schedule and service much appreciated by a discerning clientele. We look forward to continuing to meet the demands of this market, even in such a challenging environment.”