Jet Airways commenced its first flight from Bengaluru to Amsterdam on 29 October, a route the airline will operate daily on its fleet of A330-300s. Seen at the launch are: André van den Berg, CCO Amsterdam Airport; Jonathan Ford, Assistant Editor, anna.aero; and Samir Chada, GM Benelux, Jet Airways. Passengers on the first flight were handed souvenir wooden tulips as a memento of being on the first flight to Bengaluru.
Jet Airways commenced operations from Bengaluru to Amsterdam on 29 October, a route that the airline will offer daily on its fleet of A330-300s. This becomes Jet Airways’ fourth route to Amsterdam, with the airline last March having started daily flights from Delhi and Mumbai, while the carrier also offers an onward connection to Toronto Pearson which too operates daily, making Amsterdam the carrier’s European hub. The route trio was originally launched on the airline’s fleet of A330-300s, but with increased demand, these rotations are now operated on the carrier’s 777-300s. Along with these connections, passengers have a wide variety of onward links thanks to Jet Airways’ partnership with KLM.
In March 2016, the only connection that Amsterdam had to India was a daily KLM service to Delhi. From 29 October 2017 the airport has 31 weekly departures, including Jet Airways’ daily services from Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. While the day was a celebration for Jet Airways’ first flight, the 29 October also marked the launch of KLM’s three times weekly link to Mumbai, completing the 31 weekly flights. When referring to OAG schedules, Amsterdam is now the fourth largest airport in Europe for seat capacity to India, with over 10,500 weekly one-way seats on offer. It sits behind London Heathrow, Frankfurt and Paris CDG. However, of Europe’s four leading airports, Amsterdam has witnessed the largest rate of growth in Indian seats. Heathrow has observed weekly seat capacity this winter grow by just over 10%, Frankfurt 2.5% and Paris CDG 19%. Amsterdam is by far the star of the show, with it witnessing a climb in weekly seat capacity of just under 45%.
To celebrate the launch of Jet Airways’ first flight from Bengaluru, Amsterdam Airport’s Director of Aviation Marketing – Asia, South America, Africa, and Middle East, Wilco Sweijen, invited anna.aero’s Assistant Editor Jonathan Ford over to enjoy the celebrations. Of course Ford said yes, and was soon booked and on his way to Amsterdam.
Jet Airways’ first flight from Bengaluru to Amsterdam landed on runway 36C, with the aircraft touchdown being witnessed from the gate where the inaugural celebrations would take place. Quite conveniently, anna.aero’s Assistant Editor Jonathan Ford managed to capture the arrival with easyJet’s A320, registered G-EZTE, in the foreground, which he later found out was the aircraft that brought him to Amsterdam from London Gatwick the previous day.
Once the aircraft had landed it was then time for it to taxi to the gate, escorted by an airfield operations procession, followed by the inevitable water arch salute. Due to the strong winds at Amsterdam, the initially planned gate-salute moved to the end of the apron, resulting in the media inside the terminal getting a side on view of the water arch. However the professional firefighters of Amsterdam Airport are well trained when performing in extreme circumstances, with the crews placing the tenders at an angle to showcase a perfectly shaped arch, even in extreme winds. The firefighters also performed the salute all the way until the aircraft had passed under the arch.
With the first flight parked up at the gate, it completed an impressive line-up of the four Jet Airways aircraft parked at Amsterdam. This is a view which will now been seen on a daily basis at the Netherlands hub.
Time for the speeches. The master of ceremonies for the launch event was Harry Betist, Managing Partner of Travelproof, the Dutch communications and representation agency for Jet Airways. Speeches at the event were made by: Samir Chada, GM Benelux, Jet Airways; André van den Berg, CCO Amsterdam Airport; and Jolanda van der Aart, Senior Manager Foreign Investments at amsterdam inbusiness, Head of India & Canada Desks. During his speech, van der Berg commented on how exciting it was to see such phenomenal growth to India in recent years, growing from one daily flight to 31 weekly services. He also commented on how impressive it was to see the first flight out of Amsterdam having a load factor of 94%.
Part of the celebrations of the new route was a blessing of the service, a feature that has not been witnessed by anna.aero’s Ford before. Among those to bless the new route was Pastor Gerard Timmermans, one of Amsterdam Airport’s Chaplains, plus Pandit Vikash Tewarie and Imam Mücahit Batman, representing the three religions main religions at either end of the route. Along with the blessings was the breaking of a coconut. Breaking coconuts on a sacred stone, or in this case Amsterdam Airport’s terminal floor, as an offering to the deity is a common practice in South Indian temples. The word for coconut in shrifal, a symbol of happiness, prosperity and good luck, as well as respect. Having the honour of breaking the coconut was Samir Chada.
Amsterdam did not hold back with its route launch cake, with the bake for this inauguration depicting the airport’s tower along with Jet Airways’ four tailfins that will grace the Netherlands hub’s tarmac daily.
Before the cutting of the cake. Amsterdam’s Director of Aviation Marketing – Asia, South America, Africa, and Middle East, Wilco Sweijen, got a snap with the route launch showstopper alongside anna.aero’s Assistant Editor Jonathan Ford.
The cutting of the cake was performed by André van den Berg, CCO Amsterdam Airport and Samir Chada, GM Benelux, Jet Airways, with the pair being watched over by the three religious leaders that had blessed the new service. Once the cutting was complete, the cake was sliced up and given to guests attending the launch event.
Along with the centrepiece cake, there was also a selection of mini cakes for the first passengers to enjoy. Seen handing out the little iced-gems to the first flight’s guests is Annemiek Holkeboer, Airline Marketing Communications Manager for Amsterdam Airport.
Before boarding, it was time to cut the ribbon. Carrying out the prestigious proceedings with the largest scissors in the Netherlands were André van den Berg, CCO Amsterdam Airport and Samir Chada, GM Benelux, Jet Airways.
At first there was just Mumbai and Delhi, but now Jet Airways has brought Amsterdam its third Indian connection. Rejoicing at the start of daily flights to Bengaluru are: Maaike van der Windt, Head of Aviation Marketing, Amsterdam Airport; Samir Chada, GM Benelux, Jet Airways; and Wilco Sweijen, Director Aviation Marketing – Asia, South America, Africa, and Middle East, Amsterdam Airport. Since March 2016, the number of weekly flights between Amsterdam and India has gone from seven to 31, with the 29 October also being the day which saw KLM launch a three times weekly service to Mumbai from Amsterdam, adding to Jet Airways’ existing daily 777-300-operated service.
Time for take off. Having dashed to runway 36L, otherwise known as the famous Polderbaan, to capture the first departure to Bengaluru, the runway suddenly changed to 36C. Rushing back to Amsterdam’s central north-facing runway, it was time to see flight 9W 235 on its way back to India.
anna.aero would like to thank Amsterdam Airport for arranging a fantastic event for the launch of Jet Airways’ first flight from Bengaluru, in particular Wilco Sweijen and Annemiek Holkeboer, seen pictured with Samir Chada alongside Amsterdam Airport’s Runway 36C/18C, for helping arrange Jonathan Ford’s trip.
It would appear that Amsterdam is sprouting new routes at the moment. While Jet Airways has begun operations to Bengaluru and KLM to Mumbai, the route launches do not stop there. Looking ahead to 2018, Air Mauritius will become the airport’s newest tailfin, starting seasonal operations from March. Home-grown KLM will start operations to Fortaleza in May, while Delta Air Lines will serve Orlando and Los Angeles in S18, with one of the US SkyTeam member’s A330-200s seen on departure from Amsterdam’s Polderbaan Runway behind a bed of route launch tulips.