The Two Airlines That Merged To Form KLM Cityhopper

Today acting as a feeder airline for the Netherlands’ national flag carrier KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, KLM Cityhopper was founded in 1966. Headquartered at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS), KLM CityHopper came about following the merger of two Dutch regional airlines, NLM CityHopper ( Nederlandse Luchtvaart Maatschappij) and NetherLines BV

NLM Nederlandse Luchtvaart Maatschappij began life in 1966, flying Fokker F27 twin turboprops leased from the Dutch Air Force. The airline was set up as a subsidiary of KLM, bringing passengers to Amsterdam from smaller Dutch airports. At the time, the airline offered flights to Amsterdam Schiphol from the following airports:

  • Eindhoven Airport (EIN)
  • Enschede Airport Twente (ENS)
  • Groningen Airport Eelde (GRQ)
  • Maastricht Airport (MST)
  • Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM)

NLM Cityhopper commenced international flights

The first international route from Eindhoven to Hamburg Airport (HAM) began in 1974 as an executive service for Dutch electronics giant Phillips employees. A year later, in 1975, the regional carrier started flying to Amsterdam from London Gatwick Airport (LGW).

KLM Cityhopper Fokker 50

Netherlines Airlines

Netherlines Jetstream 31

A subsidiary of Dutch shipping group Royal Nedlloyd Netherlines Airlines began life in 1984, operating a commuter service with Jetstream 31 aircraft between Amsterdam and Luxembourg Findel Airport (LUX). Over the coming years, other routes were added to the following airports:

  • Eindhoven Airport (EIN)
  • Enschede Airport Twente (ENS)
  • Groningen Airport Eelde (GRQ)
  • Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM)
  • Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN)
  • Münster Osnabrück International Airport (FMO)
  • Lille Airport (LIL)
  • Birmingham Airport (BHX)
  • East Midlands Airport (EMA)
  • London Luton Airport (LTN)
  • Southampton Airport (SOU)

KLM Cityhopper Saab 340

During its lifetime Netherlines also flew between Amsterdam and Vienna International Airport (VIE) in Austria using a Swedish twin-engine turboprop Saab 340.

KLM buys Netherlines

While wanting to expand its feeder operations in the spring of 1988, KLM acquired Netherlines and combined it with NLM Cityhopper. In the beginning, both airlines operated as separate entities while KLM worked on its strategic plan. Once fully integrated, KLM changed the name to KLM CityHopper in April 1991.

KLM CityHopper fleet renewal program

In 2008 KLM announced that it was going to renew the KLM Cityhopper fleet replacing its Fokker aircraft with new Embraer E190 family aircraft. Deliveries of the Brazilian-built planes began in 2009, allowing KLM CityHopper to retire its aging Fokker 100 jets.

KLM CityHopper Embraer

KLM Cityhopper is a feeder airline for KLM. Photo: Getty Images.

In April 2014, KLM CityHopper took the delivery of its 28th E190, making it the largest European operator of the aircraft. The plane’s delivery also noted the introduction of a new livery that better suited the look and design of the Brazilian plane.

Seeing an opportunity for feeder flights from the United Kingdom to Amsterdam, KLM bought AirUK. The Dutch airline’s strong UK presence gives passengers at small regional airports such as Humberside Airport (HUY) direct access to a major international airport. After seeing how it could feed its long-haul flights from smaller European cities, KLM Cityhopper expanded with flights to Bilbao, Spain, Turin, Italy, Zagreb, Croatia, Montpellier, France, Krakow, Poland, and Belfast in Northern Ireland.

The KLM Cityhopper fleet

According to the aviation data and statistics website ch-aviation, KLM Cityhopper has a fleet of 59 aircraft made up of the following planes:

  • 17 x Embraer ERJ 170-200STDs
  • 30 x Embraer ERJ 190-100STDs
  • 12 x Embraer ERJ 190-400s

Train Plane KLM

The Dutch Government is raising the tax on airline tickets. Photo: KLM

In September, the Dutch Government announced that it was raising the tax on air tickets from eight Euros as it is now to 28.58 Euros on January 1, 2023. The move is designed to increase revenue and get people to consider other alternatives to flying, such as taking the train. The good news, however that it will only affect people departing from Dutch airports. Passengers arriving in Amsterdam and transferring on another flight will not have to pay the tax.

  • KLM Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner PH-BHP (2)

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier
    Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
    Year Found:
    Airline Group:
    Air France-KLM
    Marjan Rintel