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The Netherlands

King Willem Alexander can now fly a Boeing 737

It has now been revealed that earlier this month, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands received his final training in flying a Boeing 737 aircraft. Therefore, the King has obtained his certificate of flying one of the largest aircraft for the company he has worked for secretly in recent years – the Dutch national airline KLM. This has also been confirmed by the Dutch government.

The Dutch state airline KLM has, for many years, used aircraft of the type Fokker 70, on which the aircraft interested monarch had a certificate. In April, KLM announced that they would phase out these planes, so the King had to undergo further training on how to fly the substitute, the Boeing 737. King Willem-Alexander will continue to fly Fokker 70 planes for KLM until the new 737s arrive in 2019.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander Photo: RVD / Frank van Beek

It was in mid-May that it was revealed that His Majesty has secretly, for the last 21 years, operated as a pilot for KLM. The King has flown twice a month as a co-pilot on commercial KLM flights, while passengers had no idea of who the pilot was. It was known publicly that he occasionally flew to keep his up with his hours, but no one knew just how much the King was flying.

“I find flying simply fantastic,” said His Majesty to the press mid-May this year. The King has explained that flying for him was one of his biggest ways of relaxing. King Willem-Alexander could also disclose that he never used his name when he was addressing passengers and was rarely recognised in his KLM uniform.

“Before September 11, the cockpit door was open. People regularly came to have a look and thought it was nice or surprising that I was sitting there,” he said. King Willem-Alexander is not the only royal pilot. The Prince of Wales and both his sons, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, are all qualified pilots, as is his brother, Prince Andrew. King Abdullah II of Jordan is a trained pilot, as well.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written five books on historical subjects and more than 700 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.