KLM is the Royal Dutch Airlines, and it recently turned out why. The Netherlands is a democracy but with a ceremonial king and queen at the top of it. The Dutch King, Willem Alexander has recently given an interview, where he told everyone about him being a qualified pilot.
KLM is one of the only operators of the Fokker 70, and if you got onto one of those, there could be a slight chance you were being flown by him. He reveals, that he has been flying for over two decades now:
The Dutch king has revealed that for more than two decades he has, alongside his royal duties, held down a part-time second job.
In a newspaper interview published on Wednesday, King Willem-Alexander said that he recently ended his role as a regular “guest pilot” after 21 years on KLM’s fleet of Fokker 70 planes and before that on Dutch carrier Martinair.
As a guest flier, the king worked about twice a month, always as co-pilot. He will now retrain to fly Boeing 737s as the Fokkers are being phased out of service. The 50-year-old father of three and monarch to 17 million Dutch citizens calls flying a “hobby” that lets him leave his royal duties on the ground and fully focus on something else.
Turns out, he could mask it as he did not have to give out his name, since he was a co-pilot. He states that he had no plans to learn how to fly bigger planes:
The father-of-three says he has no plans to learn how to fly a bigger aircraft, as flights which involve an overnight stop mean he “cannot get back in time to the Netherlands in case of an emergency”.
The King is now working on training for flying the Boeing 737 planes however, as KLM is phasing out the Fokker from their fleet. I’m now not so sure that on the couple of occasions I have taken to flying the Fokker, was it the King who was flying me.
But hey, he is the King. He can do as he wants and be answerable to no-one except the ATC!