KLM has often been referred to as the ‘Royal Dutch Airlines’ and it seems to make so much sense now. The current Netherlands monarch, King Willem-Alexander recently stated in an interview that he has acted as a pilot for KLM’s subsidiary company for over 20 years.
He referred to the flights’ role as a hobby, a part-time thing, and the King also stated before this, he acted as a pilot for Martinair, another Dutch airline.
According to his interview, the King stated that he would pilot flights twice a month to decompress from his royal role, as the job of a pilot requires full concentration. As he stated, you have travelers, a crew, and an airplane you are responsible for. He goes on to state that problems cannot be taken from the ground into skies.
The King also noted that he is training for Boeing 737 flights, which will replace his current KLM Cityhooper’s Fokker 70 fleet as another distraction to help him when it comes to his royal role.
The monarch first took flight about three decades ago, as a student. This hobby took him to Kenya as a volunteer pilot, where he first dived in to help African Medical Research & Education Foundation (AMREF), and then would serve for Kenya Wildlife Service. Still, he isn’t the only royal figure to hit the opens skies.
CNN advised that Prince Charles is also a pilot, along with sons Harry and William. It has also been reported that Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah also flies.
But how did a king not get noticed in a cockpit, after 21 years? The King noted that after 9/11, security measures were developed that restricted passengers from coming into the cockpit, which thus helped to decrease any risk of being seen. As a co-pilot, he remained anonymous to travelers, even when he addressed them as they entered the craft.
What are the chances that anyone out there was actually flown to their vacation destination or business trip by a King? Clearly, it is (and was) a possibility!