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China is Air France-KLM's largest market in Asia

Updated: 2013-09-10 20:51
By Wang Wen (

China is Air France-KLM's largest market in Asia
Bas Gerressen,general manager for greater China of Air France and KLM Group [Photo / China Daily]

China is Air France and KLM Group's largest market in Asia in terms of revenue, the group's new general manager for greater China said on Tuesday.

Bas Gerressen, who took over the position recently, said his priority in China will still be sales, as it is a fast-growing market for international travelers.

China was the world's largest source of outbound tourism in 2012, and the number of outbound tourists from China is expected to increase by 15 percent year-on-year to 94.3 million person-trips in 2013, according to the China Tourism Academy.

"I have to make sure we take part in this growth," Gerressen said.

Chinese residents already account for almost 50 percent of the airlines' passenger volume on the routes from and to China, he said.

On Sept 3, Air France began using A380 aircraft on its Shanghai-Paris route and makes three flights weekly.

The average occupancy rate was 90 percent in the first week, Gerressen said.

Air France and KLM, which in 1966 became the first European airlines to operate a China-Europe route, have nine Chinese destinations and run 93 flights weekly between China and Europe.

The group does not have specific plans to open new routes in China in the near future, and the airlines' focus will be improving the occupancy rates and revenue on current routes, Gerressen said.