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

Excelencias from the Caribbean & the Americas - - Sumario - BY JORGE OSMANI MORENO PÉREZ PHO­TOS EX­CE­LEN­CIAS AR­CHIVES

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)

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