Arts, Culture & Media

The Dutch king has been secretly flying commercial planes for 21 years

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A KLM Boeing 737 takes off at Charles de Gaulle airport. 

Credit:

Jacky Naegelen/Reuters

Dutch King Willem-Alexander, who works part-time as a commercial pilot, is to start conversion training to fly Boeing 737 passenger jets, a Dutch newspaper reported Wednesday.

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The conversion training will mean the royal can continue to fly twice a month for KLM as a co-pilot.

The airline is currently phasing out the smaller Fokker 70 plane used on short-haul flights, a policy which would have made it difficult for him to continue flying.

"I really wanted to continue as a guest pilot for KLM and therefore it could actually only be on a plane such as the 737... which means short trips," King Willem-Alexander told the paper in an interview.

"Any bigger aircraft than this (737) always means staying overnight, meaning I cannot get back in time to The Netherlands in case of an emergency," the king said.

The Dutch royal told De Telegraaf daily his conversion training would start at the end of the month.

Passengers, however, will continue to have no idea that there is a member of the royal family in the cockpit. The king's presence is never announced.