KLM to replace Brussels flight with train to cut emissions

The Hague (AFP) –


Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, says Dutch airline KLM, when it comes to one of its shortest routes, it will soon be a train.

In a bid to cut its environmental impact, KLM will from March 2020 reduce from five to four the number of flights from Amsterdam to Brussels.

Instead, KLM will buy passengers tickets on the Thalys train that covers the same route between Schiphol airport and the Belgian capital.

The 45-minute, 200-kilometre (120-mile) hop has been a frequent target of environmental campaigners who say there is no need to use the plane for such a short distance.

"KLM has often stated that it is in favour of replacing short-haul flights by train, as long as the train product is a fully-fledged alternative in terms of speed, reliability and comfort for passengers," the airline said.

KLM -- officially now part of the Air France-KLM Franco-Dutch airline -- said it "intends to gradually reduce the number of flights between Brussels and Schiphol" even further in future.

The route is often used by transfer passengers coming and going from Schiphol, one of Europe's biggest hubs.

KLM said the idea was part of its "Fly Responsibly" plan to create a "more sustainable future for aviation" that also allows customers to opt for carbon offsetting.

Airlines around the world face growing criticism over greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, which are soaring as more people take to the skies.

KLM, which this year marks its 100th anniversary, launched an unusual campaign earlier this year that effectively asked people to fly less to help the environment.

"Do you always have to meet face to face? Could you take the train instead? Could you contribute by offsetting your CO2 emissions or by packing light?" said a video that was part of the campaign.