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KLM to suspend all on-board tax-free sales

Changes to customer buying behaviour have meant that on-board duty free is no longer a viable option for KLM, as such, they are pulling the service from July 2019.

KLM to suspend all tax-free sales on board their flights

From July 2019, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will no longer offer tax-free articles for sale on its European flights.

In January of 2020, the airline will suspend tax-free sales on intercontinental flights as well. As a result of new developments such as the rise of e-commerce, on board sales no longer meet the customer’s needs. Instead, KLM is exploring alternative forms of travel retail.

Miriam Kartman, Executive Vice President of KLM Inflight Services, said: “Because the current sales process no longer meet today’s customer requirements, we have decided, after extensive deliberation, to bring this to an end. As a result, passengers on our European flights will no longer be able to buy tax-free articles on board from July 2019 and from January 2020 on our intercontinental flights.”

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.

KLM is currently exploring alternative forms of travel retail concepts. Kartman continued: “We will shortly be launching several pilot projects to this end. Customer convenience and a wide range of products are central to this.”