Belgian PM hits out at KLM offer of train tickets to Amsterdam

Belgium’s prime minister lashed out at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for offering free train tickets to Amsterdam to lure passengers away from the bomb-crippled Brussels airport.

A month after the Brussels terrorist attacks, Charles Michel said the freebies touted in Belgian radio commercials play on unjustified fears over security at Belgium’s main air gateway.

 “I don’t see that as fair play, I don’t see it as appropriate,” Mr Michel said late Thursday.

 “I deplore this initiative,” he said.

KLM, the Dutch unit of Air France-KLM, said it has offered the train-to-the-plane package for years and decided on this year’s publicity campaign because it has had to cancel three of its five daily flights from Brussels to Amsterdam. 

KLM’s hub at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport is about two hours by train north of Brussels and Air France’s home in Paris an hour to the south, making both airports easy to get to from Belgium.

“Our Belgian customers should be able to fly,” said Gedi Schrijver, a KLM spokeswoman.

“We have a really good product for Belgian customers to reach Schiphol by train.”

The death toll in the March 22 bombings across Brussels stands at 32. Brussels airport is now handling 450 flights a day, two-thirds the normal level.

Trains were due to start running to the airport, about 15Km from Brussels, yesterday.



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