Today In Aviation History: KLM Royal Dutch AirlinesOctober 7, 1919

klm royal dutch airlines founded
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Aviation History: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Founded

October 7, 1919

An article from This Day In Aviation by Bryan R. Swopes

Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij N.V., operating under the name KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, was founded on 7 October 1919 by Albert Plesman, making it the oldest carrier in the world still operating under its original name, though the company stopped operating during the Second World War—apart from the operations in the Dutch Antilles in the Caribbean.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Founded

KLM flew its first scheduled passenger service with this Airco DH.16, G-EALU, from Croydon to Amsterdam, 17 May 1920.

The first KLM flight was on 17 May 1920, from Croydon Airport, London, to Amsterdam carrying two British journalists and a number of newspapers. It was flown by an Aircraft Transport and Travel Ltd. Airco DH.16, registration G-EALU, piloted by Jerry Shaw. This airplane, named Arras, was leased from Aircraft Transport and Travel Limited, a British company.

In 1920 KLM carried 440 passengers and 22 tons of freight. In 1921 KLM started scheduled services.

As of October 2016, KLM’s fleet included 119 airliners, mostly Boeing aircraft. Another 22 airliners are on order. The airline has approximately 33,000 employees.

A KLM Boeng 787 Dreamliner. (KLM)

A KLM Boeing 787 Dreamliner

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6 Comments on "Today In Aviation History: KLM Royal Dutch AirlinesOctober 7, 1919"

  1. That is why I used to recognize and always insist,KLM is the best example for an air line to be followed and it’s best practices to be adopted.Ilike it’s very high performance in every aspect.

  2. An impressive achievement in an industry where most fall by the wayside.

  3. Congratulations to KLM and the Dutch for this achievement and leadership. The aircraft in the picture is ‘G’ registered!

  4. The best airlines in the world. Congratulations to KLM management & all staff.

  5. Norman Bilston | November 8, 2018 at 5:45 pm | Reply

    I witnessed KLM’s inaugural flight landing at Hedon airfield 6 miles east of Kingston upon Hull East Yorkshire, 6.08pm. it was 8 minutes late having got lost in the fog over the North sea, 1935-6 I think, my dad took me on the crossbar of his bicycle,I was 4 or 5 yrs.old.

  6. Prof Prem raj Pushpakaran | March 11, 2019 at 6:09 am | Reply

    Prof Prem raj Pushpakaran writes — 2019 marks the centenary year of KLM!!

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