KLM chief underlines urgency of future narrowbody clarity

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KLM chief executive Peter Hartman is urging Airbus and Boeing to clarify their plans to replace the current generation of narrowbody aircraft.

Speaking in Keukenhof, the Netherlands, yesterday Hartman emphasised the urgent need for a new generation of narrowbodies to replace the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737.

"We sent out a tender for 100 aircraft - it can be easily more," he says. "We want to know now exactly what will be the most likely delivery dates of these aircraft and...a little bit more about the final specifications.

"Both sides are delaying, delaying, delaying. Now we want to have clarity."

Hartman adds that recent "bad experience" over belated replacement of the carrier's Fokker 100s has sharpened the situation's urgency. "We see that in the end...it is almost impossible to secure and guarantee the operational integrity that belongs to a reliable airline, because the aircraft are too old," he says.

"That's why we're replacing them now all by Embraers. We want to avoid running into the same risk with aircraft we have to replace around 2014-15. That means you have to order tomorrow already!"

He says he wants "clarity" from both major manufacturers: "When can you deliver, and can you put it on a piece of paper?"