Window on Canada

KLM's new Crown Lounge in Toronto

A view of the Crown Lounge

December 1, 2004 was a landmark for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Toronto, as it hosted a reception to mark the official opening of its new Business Class Lounge, The Crown Lounge, at Lester B. Pearson International Airport’s Terminal 3.


The new lounge will transform the sometimes-stressful process of contemporary international travel into a pleasant experience by offering access to all international passengers, travelling on KLM, Air France and its SkyTeam partner airlines, “regardless of class of service or fare paid, for a nominal fee”… a concept “first of its kind in Toronto”, said Karan Deswal, Director Ground Services Canada and Northern Unites States for KLM.


Jan Hesseling, the Consul General of The Netherlands in Toronto, cut a beautiful cake in front of over hundred invited guests, including GTAA President and CEO, John Kaldeway, other GTAA officials, KLM, Air France and Northwest staff, to officially declare open the Crown Lounge.


(L to R) Jan Hesseling  Maarten Stienen  Christian Lahccen  John Kaldeway  Karan Deswal  Jan Willem Smeulers


The Consul General remarked that KLM “had a long tradition of innovation and thinking ahead of others, which spans from the legendary regular service between Amsterdam and the Dutch East Indies before the war, the partnership with Northwest Airlines, its tradition in flying the most modern equipment on the market and now the state-of-the-art new Business Class Lounge.


“Although KLM has merged with Air France a couple of months ago, we, Dutch, still feel very proud of our Swan Airline and the service, quality and reliability it stands for. The fact that Her Majesty Queen Beatrix has allowed KLM to continue the use of the title, ‘Royal’, in its name despite the merger shows that others in the Netherlands think likewise”, ha added.


Jan Willem Smeulers, Vice President, Executive Office, North America, Maarten Stienen, General Manager Outstations for the Americas, and John Drpich, Director Ground Services Americas, represented KLM.


John Kaldeway, GTAA President and CEO, touched on his Dutch background and spoke of his long-standing relationship with KLM.


Jan Hesseling 

Maarten Stienen 

John Kaldeway

Karan Deswal

Jan Willem Smeulers


Jan Willem Smeulers thanked Karan Deswal for making “the Crown Lounge a reality and for his untiring focus making it a very functional lounge… only 3 minutes away from KLM’s departure gate.” He joined Maarten Stienen in congratulating Karan Deswal and his staff on their accomplishments.


Karan Deswal thanked John Drpich, Director of Ground Services for the Americas for “his constant support and encouragement throughout the project.”


The Crown Lounge is a 575 square meters facility, boasting a spectacular view of the apron and runways. This aesthetically designed lounge has a seating capacity for 140 passengers. It has a self-service buffet. The washrooms are fitted with electrical outlets to provide a tranquil environment.


For entertainment, KLM's new lounge facility has two TV rooms: one is located in a separate smoking area. Newspapers and magazines are available in different languages from various countries. 


The business centre has been provided in a quiet area in order to provide an environment conducive to the busy traveller to enable them work while waiting for their flights.



There are individual workstations each equipped with electrical outlets and wireless Internet connection. A printer, copier and fax machine are also provided free of charge to the passengers. Public telephones are located throughout the lounge.


Passengers have access to a self-service buffet and drinks.


Another view of the Crown Lounge


Christina Stewart

Air France was represented by Christian Lahccen, Vice President and General Manger, Canada, Diane Audet, Manager Communications, Karan Deswal, who in addition to his regional responsibilities for KLM, is also the first joint Station Manager for AF-KLM, Christina Stewart, the first joint AF-KLM Deputy Station Manager, and Toronto Sales team.


Northwest's Anna Metcalfe, Regional Director, Lily Jang Yuen, Station Manger and NW-KLM Toronto Sales team were also present.


KLM Toronto has been presented, several times, with the Five Crown Award, a performance award given in recognition to a station, on KLM’s worldwide network, which has met all their performance targets in the areas of punctuality, customer service and baggage handling.


KLM celebrated its 85th birthday in October 2004. Earlier on September 15, 2004, it joined the second ranking alliance of the world, SkyTeam. On June 1, 2004, with the merger of Air France and KLM – the first time that a European national airline has merged with another European flag carrier - Europe's leading airline group was formed.  KLM and AF operate a daily flight from Toronto to Amsterdam and Paris.


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