KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has announced details of its new high-speed rail service that is due to replace select flights between Brussels and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. The decision has been introduced in an effort to cut down emissions and move towards a more eco-friendly future.

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The train service will begin in March 2020 © VLIET

Effective from 29 March 2020, the service is the culmination of a long-term plan put together by KLM in association with Thalys and NS Dutch Railways, with the idea that the trains would match the short-haul flight’s speed, reliability and comfort levels. The move will see one of the five daily flights on the Brussels-Schiphol route being reduced to four, with the train service starting as a replacement. KLM has also said that it intends to gradually cut back the number of flights further over time.

“Intermodal transport involving trains and planes remains a complex and challenging business. Speed is key, not only in terms of the train itself, but also the transfer process at the airport. We aim to make maximum progress in both areas. Reducing our frequency from five to four flights a day is a good way of gaining more experience with Air&Rail services,” KLM President and CEO Pieter Elbers said.

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One flight per day will be replaced with the train service © Mischa Keijser

The service means that slots taken up for the short-haul flight can be better used for long-haul destinations. The Air&Rail service can be booked at KLM.com and through travel agents. Thalys, NS Dutch Railways, KLM and Schiphol are seeking to improve baggage handling and other services to coincide with it, and there will be a special Air&Rail check-in desk at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. 

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The train service aims to provide the same level of comfort to passengers © Westend61/Getty Images

The train service is part of the company’s “Fly Responsibly” project, in which it encourages travellers and the aviation industry to make the world aware of our shared responsibility around minimising the impact flying has on the environment. 

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) also recently announced that it will not be selling duty-free goods on-board planes from the autumn in an endeavour to cut emissions by at least 25% by 2030. 

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