Dutch national carrier KLM is to phase out duty-free sales on its flights by January 2020. The decision has been attributed to the rise of e-commerce, competition from airport outlets and sales on board no longer meeting customer needs.
The sale of tax-free items is to be phased out on European services from July 2019, with long-haul routes expected to follow six months later. The airline has stated that it is “exploring alternative forms of travel retail”.
Miriam Kartman, executive vice president of KLM Inflight Services, explained: “For decades now, KLM has been meeting customer needs by offering tax-free articles, both online and on board. More recently, however, customers have grown accustomed to an almost infinite range of products for which they can look up the lowest price online. Competition with product ranges at the airports is also growing.”
Karman added: “KLM is currently exploring alternative forms of travel retail concept. “We will shortly be launching several pilot projects to this end. Customer convenience and a wide range of products are central to this.”