KLM to Keep Flying Long Haul With Deal for Testing at Airport

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Air France-KLM’s Dutch unit will keep operating long-haul flights as it reached a deal to have staff undergo a rapid Covid-19 test upon return to the Netherlands, eliminating the risk of leaving crews behind.

KLM earlier this week urged the Dutch government to exempt its staff from a new requirement for mandatory pre-departure virus testing. It said it would otherwise halt all its long-haul flights, also threatening delivery of Covid-19 vaccines and other necessary cargo, because CEO Pieter Elbers refused to leave flight personnel behind.

The airline and the Dutch health authority RIVM developed an alternative protocol for crews leaving airports outside the government’s list of safe countries. It includes an option for rapid antigen testing for crew on departure and arrival at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, KLM said in a release.

“Our concern is to keep the virus out as much as possible,” the Dutch Minister of Transport Cora van Nieuwenhuizen said in a TV interview with Buitenhof on Sunday. “If there is an alternative to it, and the RIVM says it’s just as safe, then I don’t care, and they’ve found a solution.”

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