Dutch king reveals double life as an airline pilot for KLM

Dutch King Willem Alexander

Dutch King Willem-Alexander secretly has been an airline pilot for the past two decades, flying commercial passengers incognito for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

The King acceded to the throne in 2013 said he has doing this as well as working on his monarchical laurels. "That, for me, is the most relaxing part of flying".

For the past 21 years, the avid aviator has worked shifts twice a month in smaller Fokker 70 jets.

"You have an aircraft, passengers and crew".

He said, laughing: "The advantage is that I can always say I am speaking on behalf of the captain and crew to welcome them on board".

While it is no secret that Willem-Alexander is a qualified pilot who sometimes flew KLM passenger flights, it was not clear how frequently it happened.

Willem-Alexander described the part-time job as a "hobby", adding that he's flown such planes as the KLM Cityhopper for more than 20 years, CNN reported. Cityhopper flights are aimed mainly at business travellers in dozens of European destinations, particularly in the UK, Germany and Norway. He plans to continue his gig with the airline, but as KLM begins to phase out the model of passenger plane he's been at the controls of for years - the Fokker 70 - he's going to need to retrain to fly the carrier's fleet of Boeing 737s.

The king told the Dutch newspaper Telegraaf this week that he is rarely recognized in his KLM uniform and cap and he never uses his name when he's talking with passengers.

The Dutch king is not the only royal with a appetite for flying. You can not take your problems from the ground with you in the sky. “So I dont have to say my own name.

Willem-Alexander volunteered to fly for the African Medical Research and Education Foundation and the Kenya Wildlife Service in the 1990s.

The King has kept a low profile in flights, for security reasons, especially since the 9/11 attacks and, although as a co-pilot he does make announcements, "most people don't listen". You can for a brief moment disconnect and concentrate on something else.

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