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What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?  
User currently offlineDJMEL From Australia, joined Oct 2008, 139 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 17186 times:

Dear Team,

I see on a seperate thread that Avianca celebrates its 89th Birthday this week, which was a complete surprise to me as I did not realise that they had been operating that long - Congratulations to them!

I then began to wonder who is the oldest operating Airline today - as I was always of the belief that KLM was the oldest operating Airline.

You can also break it down into Region:

-World
-English Speaking Airline
-Asia/Pacific
-Americas
-Europe
-Africa
-Middle East

Please do not include Airlines that no longer operate, however if they have merged with another carrier please advise all details.

I would be very interested to see what you all come up with.

Thanks DJMEL

37 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAcey559 From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1495 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 17183 times:

OP (Chalk's International Airlines, formerly Chalk's Ocean Airways) was formed way back in 1917. Recently though, it went through a sort of restructuring after the crash of one of its Turbo Mallards, so I don't know if you can technically count it since the airline was renamed, although mostly the same airline.

User currently offlineERJ135 From Australia, joined Nov 2000, 679 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 17093 times:

A loaded question that has a lot of different answers depending on how you look at things.

Chalks as mentioned above was indeed the first airline in the world, however it does not boast the longest continuous service and of course since restructure it now operates under another name.
KLM 2nd oldest airline or is it? The assets were bought by an Air France led consortium May 5th 2004 and incorporated on that day. The history dates back to October 1919 but the entity we see today is not even 5 years old.
Avianca as stated above is celebrating 89 years, however 89 years ago there was no airline called Avianca, that name came later.
Qantas November 1920 and still Qantas 2008, hmmmmmmm your call!
Sabena goes back to the 20's too if I remember but as you said not valid as it is no longer in operation and SN brussels is not Sabena.



I remember when the DC-3 was new!
User currently onlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2530 posts, RR: 53
Reply 3, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 16943 times:

For the United States;

The original version of Delta Airlines began flying in May of 1924, but was a crop dusting service at first. They began passenger service in 1928, but suspended that in 1930. They restarted passenger service in August of 1934.

United began flying in April of 1926 as an airmail airline, Varney Airlines. They began carrying passengers in 1930.

Northwest started in September of 1926, just a few months after the start of United. They began carrying passengers earlier than any of the others though, in 1927.

And finally Hawaiian Airlines began flying mail and passengers at the same time, November of 1929. HA is the only one of the group to have flown continuously as a passenger airline, and is the only one of them that hasn't merged with another airline along the way.

HAL



One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently offlineFlyingAY From Finland, joined Jun 2007, 697 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 16910 times:

AY has had uninterrupted service from 1923. However, there are several airlines that are older (KLM, Qantas, Mexicana, Aeroflot, Czech Airlines). There's a list in Wikipedia, that might be interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airlines_by_foundation

User currently offlineTheSonntag From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 3396 posts, RR: 29
Reply 5, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 16840 times:

Lufthansa is not part of the oldest airlines, as it was founded again in the early 1950s. The old LH was disbanded after the war by the allies, LH bought the name. However, the tradition of LH dates back to the early 20s, so it is not the oldest, but it is quite old nevertheless.

User currently onlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2530 posts, RR: 53
Reply 6, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 16804 times:



Quoting FlyingAY (Reply 4):
There's a list in Wikipedia, that might be interesting:

According to that list then, the oldest, continuously operating airline is Qantas. Cheers!

HAL



One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently offlineUAEflyer From United Arab Emirates, joined Nov 2006, 961 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 16803 times:

I believe that Egypt Air is the first airline in the Middle East

User currently offlineRCS763AV From Colombia, joined Jun 2004, 4373 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 16681 times:

World: KLM
Asia/Pacific: Qantas
Americas: Avianca
Europe: KLM
Africa: ?
Middle East: ?


User currently offlineTN486 From Australia, joined Jul 2008, 898 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 16515 times:



Quoting RCS763AV (Reply 8):
World: KLM

Oldest continuance is QANTAS, KLM is now owned by Air France since 2001  Smile



remember the t shirt "I own an airline"on the front - "qantas" on the back
User currently offlineMayaviaERJ190 From Mexico, joined Jan 2008, 292 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 16502 times:

Mexicana has had the same brand for 87+ years. It has been its parent companies that have changed name: Compañía Mexicana de Transportación Aérea, Compañía Mexicana de Aviación, Pan American World Airways, Corporación Mexicana de Aviación, Grupo Falcón, Compañía Mexicana de Aviación (again), CINTRA, Grupo Mexicana, etc. Very few have gone under the same brand since they began operations.

Not only has it had its one and only brand for 87+ years, but it has provided uninterrupted service since, something that few others can brag about since many wars and events have interrupted their service.

Mexicana, the first foreign airline to serve LAX, has recently celebrated 70 years of uninterrupted LAX service under the same brand.

Other than the Chalk's seaplane Florida-Bahamas airbridge there is nothing comparable to Mexicana in North America.

And for the rest of the Americas I challenge any other living airline to have:

1.-87+ years of uninterrupted service.
2.-87+ years of uninterrupted service in its inaugural route (MEX-TAM)
3.-87+ years of operations under the same brand. (The Avianca brand is 68+ years old)
4.-78+ years of international service.
5.-72+ years of uninterrupted service to/from LAX.
6.-48+ years of jet service.
-AND-
7.-Full continental coverage with its own metal from Canada to Argentina.

Any other one can be the oldest, but this makes Mexicana the first!



My other plane is an A380.
User currently offlineTN486 From Australia, joined Jul 2008, 898 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 16314 times:



Quoting MayaviaERJ190 (Reply 10):
Mexicana has had the same brand for 87+ years.

I didnt for one minute think they were so old (i am not being sarcastic). If they did not start before Nov 1920, then QF beats you (am I biased?? You bet I am!!)



remember the t shirt "I own an airline"on the front - "qantas" on the back
User currently offlineCARST From Germany, joined Jul 2006, 800 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 16272 times:



Quoting MayaviaERJ190 (Reply 10):
3.-87+ years of operations under the same brand.



Quoting MayaviaERJ190 (Reply 10):
Any other one can be the oldest, but this makes Mexicana the first!



Quoting TN486 (Reply 11):
I didn't for one minute think they were so old (i am not being sarcastic). If they did not start before Nov 1920, then QF beats you (am I biased?? You bet I am!!)

But your not only biased TN486, you are totally right about that topic, too.

Qantas November 16, 1920

Mexicana July 12, 1921


Nevertheless is KLM is oldest one and it is still flying under its own brand-name:
KLM October 7, 1919

Who cares about the owner? I bet Mexicana and Quantas aren't owned by the same shareholders or family who founded them, too...


User currently offlineTN486 From Australia, joined Jul 2008, 898 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 16209 times:



Quoting CARST (Reply 12):
Quantas

Oh Dear!! Thank you for the compliment, but really, your spelling sir. I agree, it is KLM (I have to say that as my wife is dutch)  Smile



remember the t shirt "I own an airline"on the front - "qantas" on the back
User currently offlineJEdward From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 133 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 16194 times:



Quoting HAL (Reply 3):
United began flying in April of 1926 as an airmail airline, Varney Airlines. They began carrying passengers in 1930.

UA was tied to Varney? I had always thought Varney was the predecessor of CO before Six took over and changed the name.



As Christ died to make men holy, let men die to make us rich. --S.C.
User currently offlineAussieindc From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 437 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 16194 times:



Quoting CARST (Reply 12):
Who cares about the owner? I bet Mexicana and Quantas aren't owned by the same shareholders or family who founded them, too...

How long will it be before you get flamed for the 'U' in Qantas CARST?


User currently offlineTN486 From Australia, joined Jul 2008, 898 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 16177 times:



Quoting Aussieindc (Reply 15):
How long will it be before you get flamed for the 'U' in Qantas CARST

16minutes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



remember the t shirt "I own an airline"on the front - "qantas" on the back
User currently offlineGentFromAlaska From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2926 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 16131 times:

The history of AS dates back to 1932 http://www.alaskaair.com/as/www2/company/history/Overview.asp If my number crunching is correct they should be 77


Man can be taken from Alaska. Alaska can never be taken from the man.
User currently offlineCARST From Germany, joined Jul 2006, 800 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 16132 times:



Quoting Aussieindc (Reply 15):
How long will it be before you get flamed for the 'U' in Qantas CARST?



Quoting TN486 (Reply 16):
16minutes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, sorry guys, i know what Qantas stands for, it is just so typical in German to type a "u" after every "q", because 99,9% of our words starting with a "q" have a following "u".


User currently offlineSwiftski From Australia, joined Dec 2006, 2701 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 16084 times:



Quoting HAL (Reply 6):
According to that list then, the oldest, continuously operating airline is Qantas. Cheers!

QF even use this in their current (UK at least) advertising campaign.


User currently onlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2530 posts, RR: 53
Reply 20, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 15926 times:



Quoting JEdward (Reply 14):
UA was tied to Varney? I had always thought Varney was the predecessor of CO before Six took over and changed the name.

Yes, the original Varney Air Lines was the oldest of the carriers that merged to form United. The others were National Air Transport, Pacific Air Transport, and Boeing Air Transport. The four of them formed the core of the new United Airlines.

Varney (after the merger) formed another airline - Varney Speed Lines - which ended up becoming Continental. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Varney

HAL



One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently onlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2530 posts, RR: 53
Reply 21, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 15912 times:



Quoting CARST (Reply 12):
Nevertheless is KLM is oldest one and it is still flying under its own brand-name:
KLM October 7, 1919

I'd have to say that since Qantas was founded just a year later, and KLM didn't fly for several years during WWII, Qantas wins the race here since they have more years of operational service.

HAL



One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently offlineCaptaink From Mexico, joined May 2001, 5108 posts, RR: 12
Reply 22, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 15839 times:

The three oldest airlines in the world under the same brand, are KLM, Qantas and Mexicana. Mexicana being the 3rd, KLM and Qantas fighting over the first two positions. In the Americas, Mexicana is the oldest airline.


There is something special about planes....
User currently offlineBmacleod From Canada, joined Aug 2001, 2196 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 15761 times:

Quoting Captaink (Reply 22):
KLM and Qantas fighting over the first two positions.

KLM is the oldest major carrier worldwide. Sorry QANTAS.
However QANTAS has the longest continuous service worldwide.

Canada was an early pioneer of aviation (Alex Bell & Glenn Curtis 1908) and Trans-Canada Air could have got their ball rolling earlier...they missed out on a huge opportunity....

[Edited 2008-12-02 10:23:07]


The engine is the heart of an airplane, but the pilot is its soul.
User currently offlineEkA380 From Egypt, joined Aug 2008, 120 posts, RR: 7
Reply 24, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 15746 times:

Egypt Air is the oldest in Middle East and Africa founded in early May 1932.

Islam



Always go the extra mile , its worth it ;)
25 Airbuster : i don't get the continuos argument about klm not being klm anymore since the takeover, it's still basically the same company, operates the same routes
26 Deaphen : True...but i have been in the Netherlands for the last 4 months now, and i am beginning to believe that they coloured the planes blue just to remind
27 AFKL : It is funny you should say that. I recently had a big discussion with my mother (an ex-KLM stewardess) who believes on the same line as you. However,
28 Jamincan : To be fair, the QANTAS from 1920 isn't the same company we now know as QANTAS. It seems the company that we now know as QANTAS has its origins from Q
29 MX77W : Ok so to recap according to the list and some other accounts: WORLD: KLM/Qantas (Debatable due to KLM stopped operations during WWII and due to its me
30 SWABrian : Up until the merger with Delta in 1987, it was generally considered that Western was the oldest continually operating airline in the US.
31 ERJ135 : KLM without question is the oldest airline operating today and the question of ownership is an issue in legal terms. KLM as part of the KLM-Air France
32 AmricanShamrok : Here in Ireland our national carrier, Aer Lingus is the oldest. Formed in May 1936 its first flight left a small aerodrome in Dublin bound for BRS. It
33 StarAlliance38 : I think you should split Asia and Australia/Oceania. Australia: QANTAS Asia: Philippine Airlines!! Proudly Philippine Airlines! 1941 FTW! Can't really
34 Vhqpa : I read in an article abot the proposed QF/BA merger that either Imperial Airlines or the original British Airways (Which merged into B.O.A.C. then bac
35 767nutter : KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (English for Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij. correct me if i'm wrong Airbuster) is the national airline of the Netherlan
36 Burnsie28 : NW is the oldest US airline with the same continuous name... soon that will go to someone else, Delta can't claim that crop dusting service is part of
37 Henkybaby : Strange. Flying BA's 767 out of Amsterdam you sometimes get the feeling these particular aircraft have been around longer than the whole of KLM...
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