No SLM flights in the coming days, victims pay top prize at KLM

The ongoing financial and operational problems at the Surinamese airline SLM mean that no SLM flights between Paramaribo and Amsterdam will be operated in the coming days. And that means that people whose flights have been cancelled are being hunted at high costs.

Only KLM now flies between Schiphol Airport and Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport, better known as Zanderij. And due to the loss of the SLM flights, the traveler is now losing a lot of money for a KLM ticket, according to a search on the KLM site.

For this Monday, only tickets for the more expensive business class will be available. A one-way ticket in Amsterdam-Paramaribo costs 3779 euros. A week later, that flight, in economy class, still costs 1560 euros. A one-way trip Paramaribo-Amsterdam for this Monday is relatively cheap: 884 euros. A week later, that flight costs 1027 euros.

KLM: simple supply and demand

โ€œThere has been a run on tickets,โ€ said a KLM spokesperson. โ€œThat causes our prices to rise, because our flights are already quite full. So its simple supply and demand.โ€ KLM will not deploy additional flights to Suriname in the short term. โ€œWe have no capacity for that, because we are at the peak of the peak. We follow market conditions and see how we can best deal with them.โ€

Loraine Oosterhuis-van de Leuv had her father from Suriname visiting, when his return flight was canceled. They lost around 1500 euros on a replacement ticket:

Whether and when SLM will fly again between Suriname and the Netherlands is still unclear. The company does not have its own aircraft and is struggling to rent aircraft from leasing companies due to the financial problems. SLM has a debt of 75 million dollars, director Paul de Haan told Surinamese television channel Apintie this week. In that interview, he also painted a picture of how SLM got into trouble.

โ€œ1 in 3 tickets given away cheaplyโ€

According to De Haan, unnecessarily expensive lease aircraft have been chosen in the past and SLM staff have also sold or given away many tickets cheaply. According to De Haan, this concerns 33 percent of all tickets sold in recent years. โ€œThere was a discount on that or they were used completely free of charge. These have sometimes been friends and sometimes politicians, people who were not entitled to the IPB scheme,โ€ said the director.

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IPB means If Location Available. That is an arrangement that many airlines have. Employees and their partners can then fly at a very low rate if there are still empty spaces on a flight. But according to De Haan, that scheme was abused: โ€œAt SLM it was not If Place Available, but APB: Always Place Available. And that has to go away,โ€ he said at Apintie. According to De Haan, there is a recovery plan that society wants to implement in the coming period. SLM also wants to fly according to schedule again from 20 July, but it cannot guarantee that it will succeed.

No refund in case of cancellation

According to travel industry association ANVR, SLM is now not adhering to the European rules for cancelled flights. โ€œSLM offers vouchers and the possibility to rebook to a later flight. But what they also have to offer is to refund the money within seven days,โ€ says an ANVR spokesperson. This rule applies to all flights flying to or from EU territory.

โ€œWe are very concerned. SLM is actually not reachable, they do not respond to requests for information,โ€ said the ANVR spokesperson. The organization has sent a letter to Surinamese President Santokhi to get clarity.

Should SLM go bankrupt, ticket buyers are likely to lose their money, according to the ANVR. โ€œAt least when it came to a separate ticket. If it was a package trip, of which an SLM flight was part, it is at the expense and risk of the travel company.โ€