Going Dutch

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is celebrating its 90th anniversary this week.

It occurs to me that Boeing and KLM got their starts at nearly the same time – and although we haven’t worked together for quite all of those 90 years, we do have a very long and successful relationship.

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A new 777 for KLM, which turned 90 this week.

The relationship with our Dutch customer began back in 1934, when Boeing legacy company Douglas made its first sale in the Netherlands: a 1934 DC-2.

Soon to follow were numerous MD-11s, 737s and 747s in all configurations. KLM was the launch customer of the 747-200 as well as the Electronic Flight Bag. Their latest delivery, KLM’s fourth 777-300ER, took place just this past August.

What’s the “secret formula” that keeps two partners working together for more than 70 years? A shared vision? The same corporate DNA?

In the case of KLM, probably all of the above. Like Boeing, KLM is a true aviation pioneer, with an international focus - positioned at the forefront of innovation and environmental issues. We’ve been able to bridge decades of the rapid changes and challenges that characterize our business. Boeing’s capable product lineup has delivered a lot of added value to KLM over the years and continues to do so today. You might say we’ve led the way together.

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But KLM is more than just a “customer.” I think “partner” is really the word. We’ve been partners in innovation, environmental care and in creating economic growth. I also think KLM stands for more than just an airline in the Netherlands - it’s a national symbol of economic and industrial achievement.

Likewise Boeing’s activities in the Netherlands encompass more than just our partnership with commercial airlines such as KLM, Transavia.com and Martinair.

Another important element in Boeing’s partnership with the Netherlands is the long cooperation with leading Dutch universities such as Technical University in Delft. In addition, Boeing’s activities provide work to skilled professionals of more than 80 Dutch companies, including the 2004 Boeing Supplier of the Year, Stork Aerospace. Boeing and Stork recently teamed up with Royal Ten Cate and one of the country’s leading tech institutes, Twente University of Technology, to form the Thermoplastic Composites Research Center.

Also this year, Boeing pledged its support to the Netherlands’ World Class Aviation Academy, an initiative that is based on the World Class Maintenance program in which the aviation industry and the Dutch government joined forces to create a center of excellence in maintenance.

The Netherlands is a country with a proven history of successful entrepreneurship, an international orientation and a know-how in advanced composites. I guess it’s fair to say that for Boeing, “going Dutch” just feels right.

So, congratulations to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines on their 90th anniversary. Here’s to the next 90, together.

Comments (6)

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

KLM has been a loyal customer for Boeing and Douglas since its very early years and still is today, no other European flag carrier has been as loyal to Boeing than KLM and the legacy lives today with the new 777-300ER. Transavia and Martinair follow the Dutch tradition of using Boeing products. I hope the tradition continues. Congrats to KLM's 90 years!

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Congratulations to KLM on 90 years

KLM is a noted operator of large combi aircraft. Are there any plans for future combi versions of the 777-300ER or the 747-8IP?

Abby (Athens, Georgia):

Great post and congratulations to KLM for 90 great years. It has been a wonderful partnership between KLM and Boeing these last 70 years!

JJ Pothoven (Schiphol, The Netherlands):

KLM does have a strong history in relation to the various Boeing aircraft as you described. And the 777-300ER is certainly a strong addition to our KLM fleet.

I thought that new safety regulations prohibit the movable separation walls that have been used in the past. A new combi must have a fixed wall, becoming heavier which makes it not economical anymore.

Chris C (South Africa):

Very interesting article highlighting KLM! I really wasn’t aware that KLM are 90 years old! That’s truly quite stupendous. No doubt KLM will be a very close partner of Boeing’s for the next 90 years, and hopefully we’ll see them order 787s and 747-8Is! KLM already operates 747-400ERFs, so perhaps we’ll see them become a -8F customer in the years to come as well?

William (New York, USA):

Like to Congratulate KLM and Boeing for the great achievement.

On the negative side this beauty 777-300 (seats 10 across in Economy class)

Sorry for those passengers flying on these planes. Is this what flying is all about after 90 years of achievement.

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