Dutch government buys into KLM

The Dutch state has now taken a 14 percent stake in Air France-KLM, with which it now has completed the buying of shares of the Franco-Dutch airline, the Dutch government announced on Wednesday.

That follows Tuesday’s development, on which the Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said the Dutch state took a 12.68 percent stake in Air France-KLM.

According to the latest statement by the Dutch government, it will stop purchasing more shares. With the 14 percent stake, the Dutch are now around equal with the French stake in the Franco-Dutch airline.

The decision came as a surprise to France. “It is now up to the Dutch government to make their intentions clear,” French President Emmanuel Macron said during a press conference on Wednesday in Paris. Hoekstra said that he would go to Paris shortly to explain the Dutch decision.

The position of Amsterdam Schiphol airport and its main user KLM, the Dutch division of Air France-KLM, are of great importance for the Dutch economy and employment. Thousands of jobs are involved with the airport and the intercontinental network of KLM destinations. This network is also an important reason for foreign companies to settle in the Netherlands.

Hoekstra said on Tuesday that “The company will have to become more competitive. That is in the interest of KLM and Schiphol and therefore in the public interest of the Netherlands. As a shareholder in Air France-KLM and in KLM, the Dutch state is on top of it.”