On this day October 7, 1919

KLM of the Netherlands is founded making it the oldest carrier in the world still operating under its original name.

A 1919 advertisement

A 1919 advertisement

The company stopped operating during the Second World War apart from the operations in the Dutch Antilles in the Caribbean.

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 Airco DH.16, callsign G-EALU, piloted by Jerry Shaw.

By 1926 it was offering flights to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Brussels, Paris, London, Bremen, Copenhagen, and Malmo; using primarily Fokker F2 & Fokker F.III. KLM was also the first airline to fly to Manchester Airport, using a DC-2 via Doncaster.

Intercontinental service to the Netherlands East Indies (today’s Republic of Indonesia) started in 1929. This was for several years the world’s longest scheduled route.

The service used Fokker F.VIIb, although the first non-scheduled KLM flight had been in 1924 by Fokker F7 registration H-NACC piloted by Van der Hoop.

In 1930 KLM carried 15,143 passengers. The first transatlantic KLM route was between Amsterdam and Curaçao in December 1934 using the Fokker F-XVIII “Snip.” In the 1940s the KLM was the only civilian airline operating the Douglas DC-5.

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