The world’s oldest airline, KLM, turned 100 this week

Oct 8, 2019

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Dutch flag carrier KLM celebrated its 100th anniversary Monday, making it one of the oldest airlines in the world and the oldest still flying under its original name.

KLM, short for Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij — “royal air transport company” in Dutch — was founded 7 October 1919, though its first flight didn’t take to the skies until 17 May 1920.

Since then, KLM has become a major part of the international airline landscape, connecting far-flung destinations from its hub in Amsterdam. It serves about 165 destinations from Schiphol Airport (AMS) today. It’s now part of the Air France-KLM group, after their 2004 merger, and a member of the SkyTeam alliance with Delta Air Lines. Air France-KLM’s frequent flyer program, Flying Blue, is probably the best tool to find award availability on SkyTeam carriers.

KLM has also been a social-media pioneer, and is known for videos that feature cute dogs.

As the airline looks to its next 100 years, it’s trying to stay on the cutting edge of of aviation technology, experimenting with more sustainable fuel sources and the “flying V” experimental fuselage.

Featured photo by Alberto Riva/TPG.

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