Airline calls for rapid solution from Eurozone

City A.M. Reporter
THE HEAD of one of Europe’s largest airlines, Dutch KLM, urged the region’s leaders give a rapid signal of confidence to help dispel the effects of the European financial crisis.

“I hope they solve (the crisis) rapidly or that we see clear messages that confidence is coming,” said KLM chief executive Peter Hartman.

Consumer and business confidence has been hit hard by the crisis, which has pushed many Eurozone countries into recession, and caused total GDP to fall 0.1 per cent in the year to the first quarter of 2012.

Hartman, who is also deputy chairman of parent Air France-KLM, said that looking three months ahead, premium bookings were holding up relatively well but that cargo was being hit by the preference of many shippers to switch to cheaper sea routes.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an industry summit amid airline merger speculation in the United States, he said “consolidation is not over in Europe either.”

He also said Air France-KLM was still negotiating the final version of a deal to buy Airbus A350 jets but was disputing parts of the contract. He expected a deal in coming months.