KLM. The oldest airline in the world (1919)

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Written by: 360.org

Saturday, 7 October 2017

1919 -

Today, in 1919, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines was founded. It’s the oldest airline in the world. Literally KLM (Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij) means Royal Aviation Company. The Dutch queen Wilhelmina awarded KLM its ‘Royal’ designation September 12, 1919, even before the air service was actually founded.

In 1919 flying was still very special. KLM transported 345 passengers and 25000 kilos of mail and cargo. Nowadays a single Boeing 747 flight can carry 400 passengers and 20000 kilos of cargo. In 1920 KLM made its first scheduled flights between Amsterdam and London, making it also the oldest international scheduled service, operated by any airline under the same name.
Only five years after KLM’s foundation, the first plane departed for Indonesia. The route Amsterdam-Batavia (which we now know as Jakarta) was an adventurous trip. It took weeks to complete. For comparison; these days the trip takes about 15 hours.

Hello jumbo jet
In 1960, KLM acquired its first jet planes.These planes could fly faster than earlier aircraft types with propellers. Now it was possible to fly anywhere you wanted in the world, within 24 hours. The first Boeing 747 appeared ten years later. It was called a ‘jumbo jet’ because it could carry much more than anything had before. In 2004 KLM merged with Air France, but the service still flies under its own name.

360 trivial fact
These days KLM carries 29 million suitcases and serves 1.3 million litres of wine in a year.



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