KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will begin a new flight from Amsterdam to Cartagena in March of next year. While the flight from Europe will not be direct — stopping first in Bogotá — the Cartagena-to-Amsterdam return leg will be non-stop.
Adding this new route to Colombia means an end to KLM’s service to Cali. The airline says it has seen a reduction in demand for travel to Cali and believes the strong tourism draw to Cartagena will make for a better option.
The airline will fly a Boeing 787-9 from Amsterdam’s Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to Cartagena’s Rafael Núñez International Airport (via Bogotá’s El Dorado International Airport) three times each week. Each flight will have 294 seats (30 business class, 35 “economy comfort,” and 219 economy).
The flight will depart from Amsterdam at 10:15 am and arrive in Bogotá at 2:00 pm. It will continue on to Cartagena at 3:40 pm and arrive at 5:10 pm. The return flight to Europe will depart from Cartagena at 6:15 pm and arrive in Amsterdam the next day at 10:45 am. (All times local.)
“LM is always looking for new ways to improve its network,” said Pieter Groeneveld, vice president of network planning for KLM. “The number of passengers traveling to Cali was decreasing, particularly in the business segment. Cartagena is a beautiful and historic city on the Caribbean coast and is attracting a growing number of international tourists. Combined with the business center of Bogotá, Cartagena makes a good combination to strengthen KLM’s presence in Colombia.”
According to the Manchester, England-based aviation consultancy Airport Strategy and Marketing (ASM), which helped coordinate the new route, the non-stop return leg will be the first time that Cartagena has had a direct flight to Europe in 10 years.
“We expect the increase in the number of European arrivals to Cartagena to stimulate tourism, and this will have a significant impact on the local economy,” said ASM consultant Omar Hashmi. “We look forward to working with KLM to make the route a success.”
ASM is touting this as yet another good sign for increasing Cartagena’s connectivity with the rest of the world. It says it also “played an important role” in helping establishing new routes to Cartagena by JetBlue Airways (from Fort Lauderdale), Delta Air Lines (from Atlanta), and LATAM Airlines (from the Peruvian capital Lima, a flight that will launch in January)