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The Netherlands

King Willem-Alexander flew commercial flight from Amsterdam to Turkey

Last Saturday His Majesty King Willem Alexander flew a commercial flight from Amsterdam to Istanbul in Turkey.  His Majesty was a co-pilot on a KLM flight with a Boeing 737 carrying 131 passengers. The Dutch monarch has previously revealed his great hobby and interest of flying.

It was only the crew that was told about the King’s presence before the flight. A few observant passengers in the front recognised the king, and it was reported to the media when the plane landed in Turkey.

“It is not every day you are piloted by a King. It will be an unforgettable memory for me. At first, I was a bit concerned, knowing that he was a part-time pilot. However, it was a good take-off and landing. I wrote him a letter, thanking him and asking for a photo of two of us. I handed the letter to his bodyguard. He communicated to me that he did not want to have his photograph taken and that he wanted to be known as a pilot, not as a King on a plane”, said one of the passengers to Dutch press.

His Majesty King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands. Photo: RVD – Frank van Beek

Upon landing the passengers were informed that the co-pilot was the King of the Netherlands. Some passengers expressed shock. Many passengers said they were honoured to have been flown by a King. Wilma Elles, a German actor known for her roles in Turkish soaps, said, “A king brought me to Istanbul.” It was in June last year that His Majesty the King received permission to fly a Boeing 737. In 2017 it was reported that King Willem-Alexander would continue to fly Fokker 70 planes for KLM until 2019, this has now been proved wrong.

It was in mid-May 2017 that it was revealed that His Majesty has secretly worked as a pilot for KLM for the last 21 years. The King flew 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 up with his hours, but no one knew just how much the King was flying.

“I find flying simply fantastic”, the King told the press, and he 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.

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.