A Century of Airline Operations
THE YEAR 2019 WILL MARK THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST AIRLINES, FOUNDED IN 1919. THE ADVANCE OF COMMERCIAL AVIATION HAS CONTRIBUTED TO EXPANDING THAT BUSINESS TO OVER 290 AIR COMPANIES WORLDWIDE
The first airline in the world was KLM (Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij) known as Royal Dutch Airlines, founded in the Netherlands on 7 October, 1919. In December of the same year, the SCADTA, Colombo-german Air Transport Society that evolved into AVIANCA, was founded in Colombia, and the third one was QANTAS, from Australia, founded in 1920.
This new phenomenon had been caused and prompted by breakthroughs in aviation, catalyzed by the events of World War I, a situation that caused a remarkable development in the design and manufacture of aircraft. After the war, that potential turned to the development of the new commercial air transport.
Between 1919 and 1929, 33 airlines were founded worldwide. That steady development continued over the following years to reach the current figure of 290* airlines. Their evolution and development have been fluctuating. Some remain standing and others have vanished.
Of the 33 airlines founded in the first decade of the 20th century, only 19 remain operating today and are celebrating their 90th or older anniversaries in the ongoing year, including Cubana de Aviación. In the group of companies that have disappeared, such powerful companies as Pan American, Mexicana de Aviación, TWA and Sabena, among others, are on that list.
In the 2018 rankings, Delta Air Lines (1928), KLM-AIR France (1919), United (1929), IAG (British-iberia) (1927), Lufthansa (1926) were founded in the early going of aviation development. Among the next 50 of the ranking, of those founded in the first decade, Aeroflot (16), Qantas (20) LAN (21) and Avianca (45) stand tall.
As readers can see, competition within the world of commercial airlines is very tough. Achieving a place in the traveler's preference requires smart work of innovation, service delivery and upgrades in comfort, always making passengers the centerpiece of a win-win situation.
In recent years, airlines with little time of foundation and regions where only a few decades ago air transportation was not significant, have become icons of commercial aviation. Airlines such as Qatar Airways, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Cathay, ANA and some Chinese companies are good cases in point and have now become benchmarks in the Asia-pacific region (including China) and the Middle East region, whose numbers surpass those of Europe, a continent that won supremacy decades ago.
*IATA MEMBER AIRLINES (INTERNATIONAL AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION)