Bringing New Aircraft Home
Bringing New Aircraft Home

Bringing New Aircraft Home

June 11th, 2013 - How Dutch airline KLM, part of the Air France-KLM group, meets the logistical challenge of collecting new aircraft from U.S. manufacturer Boeing.

How one of Europe's biggest airlines ferries new aircraft across the Atlantic.

When Dutch airline KLM takes delivery of a new aircraft from U.S. manufacturer Boeing, Hans Feenstra, the aerospace operations manager for the group, receives the planning for the handover a year in advance.

KLM, part of the Air France-KLM group, sends pilots and mechanics over to Seattle. This acceptance team will inspect, test and accept the aircraft. They will also bring the plane back from Seattle to Schiphol airport in the Netherlands.

Feenstra, who has managed logistics for the airline for the past 15 years, needs to move fast. The newly-acquired plane is typically scheduled to serve passengers within just one day of its arrival in Amsterdam. “Delays caused by technical or administrative problems can prove very costly,” says Feenstra.

By the end of this year alone, KLM will have taken delivery of 12 new Boeing aircraft, including three Boeing 777s.

KLM was one of the few airlines who kept on investing in new aircraft during the crisis. Not only fuel cost was a reason for replacement of the fleet, but also a combination of lower maintenance cost, increased passenger comfort and reduced CO2 emission. The environmental aspect is very important for AFKL and the group is ranked number one in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the sixth consecutive year.

As airlines like KLM speed up the renewal of their fleet, they are also searching for more efficient ways to take delivery of the aircraft from U.S.-based Boeing, including management of the customs formalities.

In the past, for example, Feenstra would have flown to Seattle to oversee the new deliveries and take care of customs clearance of the aircraft, shipments and immigration forms for crew and passengers. Today, KLM outsources that logistic role to SDV, saving the airline time and money.

Basically, SDV takes care of all export documents related to the aircraft and any eventual cargo. “This helps ensure a smooth and speedy delivery”, says Laurent Chantegros, SDV's aerospace manager for the U.S.. “Having SDV present for each aircraft delivery also ensures a constant level of support and service that helps KLM respects its tight schedules”, he adds.

Feenstra agrees. “Having local assistance for logistics is a major asset that helps us avoid potential problems,” he says. “It allows our engineers and pilots to focus on their core job, instead of being distracted by other activities.”

For SDV, taking part in the logistics of the aircraft's delivery goes beyond the transport of general cargo. “It's not every day that we get to participate in red-ribbon ceremonies,” Chantegros says."

Key Figures
  • 20%

    More fuel-efficient for the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350

  • 70%

    of Urbanisation is expected by 2050

  • 27

    mega-cities are expected by 2050, with at least 10 million people, compared to 1...

  • +18,4%

    of growth for E-commerce retail market in Europe in 2015

  • 82%

    of goods are moved by road

  • 1 billion

    Population in Africa

  • 60%

    of Africa’s population will be urbanized by 2050

  • 7,5%

    of growth for Indian GDP in 2014

  • 4,9%

    of growth for African GDP in 2016

  • 6,1%

    of growth for East Asian GDP in 2015, the world’s fastest-growing region

  • 19 224 teus

    transported by the MSC Oscar, the largest container ship in the world

  • 396 m

    is the size of the MSC Oscar ship

  • 120 h

    is the Non-Stop Flight Record done by Solar Impulse

  • 4,5%

    of growth in 2015 for Global Airfreight demand