KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Celebrates 100 Years Today, October 7, 2019

Earlier this year, Hilton celebrated 100 years in business on Friday, May 31, 2019; and British Airways celebrated 100 years in business as well on Sunday, August 25, 2019…

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Celebrates 100 Years Today, October 7, 2019

KLM Atlanta to Amsterdam Schiphol airport

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

…and now, Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij Naamloze Vennootschap — which translates to English as Royal Aviation Company Nameless Venture or Public Company and is more popularly known as KLM Royal Dutch Airlines — celebrates 100 years in business as of today, Monday, October 7, 2019 as the oldest commercial airline which is still in operation.

Tuesday, October 7, 1919 marks the date of “the establishment of the ‘Royal Dutch Airlines for the Netherlands and Colonies’ as it was then called”, according to this article pertaining to the history of the airline — but the actual first flight did not occur until Monday, May 17, 1920 with a flight from London to Amsterdam using a leased deHavilland DH-16 aircraft.

How is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Older Than British Airways?

You are probably thinking, “Wait a minute. You just wrote that British Airways celebrated 100 years as of this past August. How can KLM Royal Dutch Airlines be the oldest commercial airline which still in operation?”

Although the current iteration of the airline itself was established 45 years ago on Sunday, March 31, 1974, British Airways traces its lineage back to the first scheduled international service in the world with a flight from London to Paris, which was operated by a tiny airline called Aircraft Transport and Travel on Monday, August 25, 1919.

After that airline declared bankruptcy the following year, it was subsequently merged into the new Daimler Airway, which in turn then merged with three other airlines on Monday, March 31, 1924 to form Imperial Airways. That airline was incorporated into the British Overseas Airways Corporation in 1939, which merged with British European Airways to form the current British Airways in 1974.

Summary

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

What can I say other than happy 100 years in business, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines — and may the next 100 years be even more successful.

All photographs ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

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