Happy Birthday KLM, 100 years ago, today, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines was founded. KLM is, therefore, the oldest airline in the world still operating under its original name.
7 Oct, 1919,
Establishment of the ‘Royal Dutch Airlines for the Netherlands and Colonies’ as it was then called. The founders are a group of investors who asked Albert Plesman to take over the daily supervision of the business. Plesman would later be named Director of KLM.
17 May, 1920,
The first KLM flight. Pilot Jerry Shaw flies the leased DeHavilland DH-16 from London to Schiphol. On board are two journalists, a letter from the Mayor of London to his counterpart in Amsterdam and a stack of newspapers.
26, May 1946,
The start of the service between Amsterdam and New York with ‘Rotterdam’ a Douglas DC-4. KLM is the first airline to connect mainland Europe to America and the service is the start of KLMs network in the west.
16 October 1975
The addition of the first Boeing 747-306B Combi to the fleet, this is the only aircraft that transports both passengers and cargo.
29 June 1996
The first KLM flight to Beijing. This is the first step in a growing number of destinations within China and a growing collaboration with Chinese airlines. From this moment China becomes one of the most important destinations for KLM.
5 May 2004
Foundation of AIR FRANCE-KLM. On this day the fusion on the two airlines becomes official. 7 months earlier in September 2004, the airlines decided to combine their strengths.
25 August 2005
Airbus deliver the first A330 to KLM. This aircraft replaces the B767 which is slowly being phased out of the fleet.
Today KLM connects 145 destinations with a fleet of 120 (excluding subsidiaries) aircraft.