From July 2019, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will no longer offer tax-free articles for sale on its European flights. In January of 2020, it will suspend sales on intercontinental flights as well. As a result of new developments such as the rise of e-commerce, sales on board no longer meet customer needs. Instead, KLM is exploring alternative forms of travel retail.

“Because the current sales process no longer meet today’s customer requirements, we have decided, after extensive deliberation, to bring this to an end,” says Miriam Kartman, Executive Vice President, KLM Inflight Services. “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 concept. “We will shortly be launching several pilot projects to this end. Customer convenience and a wide range of products are central to this,” Ms. Kartman says, in a prerelease.