Monrovia – After over 20 years of stay from Liberia due to the civil war, Dutch Airline, Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij (KLM) Royal Dutch Airlines has finally resumed operations.
It was all excitement on Sunday, March 26, 2017 at the Roberts International Airport when the flight landed the airstrip in Margibi County.
One could see passengers, airport workers and bystanders as well as other guest saying, “at long last, the flight has landed. KLM is back to base.”
Some were seen pulling out their electronic gadgets to take the photograph of the blue and white airlines which symbolizes a ‘dolphin’
Interestingly, to the pilots and co-pilot windows, both the flags of Liberia and KLM were seen flying.
The two pilots were seen laughing when the flight landed on the tarmac.
The KLM flight operation to Freetown and Monrovia, Airbus A330-200series has seats of over 268. Its first flight last night had 111 passengers onboard to Liberia.
Some of the passengers spoken to expressed excitement for the return of the flight.
This is what you call flight. It is safe and the pilot is good. I am just thrilled for KLM to be back in Liberia.
This is what Liberians would love to see. It tells you that we are returning to be days of KLM. Good to be a passenger on board the maiden flight,” Sam, a passenger said as he disembarked the flight.
It can be recalled on November 15, 2016, the airlines announced the restart of its operations to Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The flight is said to operate three times a week, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday between Amsterdam, Freetown and Monrovia and Amsterdam respectively.
Speaking to reporters upon arrival at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) on March 26, 2017, Henri Ledoux, the Director of delegation Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia said the resumption means Liberia has a very good potential of clients to Northern Europe and the United States.
“KLM is good for this kind of traffic. This is why we chose Liberia. We came with AirFrance two years ago.
Finally the people from France say they prefer to go to Paris. So we prefer KLM, but it takes time,” he said.
Ledoux disclosed that they are going in many places in Africa, but not everywhere.
“KLM Airlines serves 51 routes in Africa and so there is a huge traffic, seven new destinations in Africa for AirFrance-KLM in 2007."
"We are back in Africa. If we are back, that means there is potential,” he added.
The Royal Dutch Airlines plans to expand its African network and will compete with other world class airlines.
For his part, the Managing Director of Jos Travel & Tours Incorporated, agent for KLM in Liberia, Joseph Wamah said his company was excited for the resumption of KLM to Liberia
Wamah who was trained by KLM over twenty five years ago, said, the resumption followed series of calls from passengers about the return of the flight to Liberia.
Wamah who has over 32 years of experience in the airlines industry said the resumption of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines means the country has the potential for good business.
“With KLM, you can go all over the world, this is why we say KLM is good for the market."
"We have worked so much with the Liberian Government over the years to improve the air traffic industry in Liberia."
"We have been responsible for many airlines coming into the country,” he said.
Regarding the airfares, Wamah disclosed that KLM is one of the cheapest; saying from Liberia to North Atlantic, America and other places is US$999 if the seats are available, Europe-US$599.00, all inclusive, but depends on availability.
This is a special promotional fares which will last for some time.
“We have been looking around encouraging people that Liberia is a country that you can fly to.
Liberia after the war is improving, things are getting better. We feel that there is a need for more airlines to come into this country. This creates job opportunities, competition, eases the travel need of the Liberian people,” he added.