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The Meaning And The Origin Of Airline Names....  
User currently offlineLightbug From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 73 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 9420 times:

Most of these are givaways as they are specific and represent countries or specific territories. But then there are some that I can only scratch my head about. Airline names like Delta or Mesaba, Ethiad or EL AL. What does this all mean? I'm sure there are many others, but it would be interesting to learn more about how these came in to place.

Strange airline names and the background for these are very welcome.

64 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently onlineOzarkD9S From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5153 posts, RR: 21
Reply 1, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9401 times:

Delta started in the Mississippi Delta region of the southern US.

EL AL is hebrew for "to the sky" or something similar. Feel free to correct me.



Next Up: STL-EWR-STL for my first mileage run!
User currently offlinedavescj From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 2307 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9398 times:

United was due to a merger of airlines http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Airlines#Beginnings.

Ironically, the founder of United also helped found continental (see above).

Dave



Can I have a mojito on this flight?
User currently offlinesteex From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 1689 posts, RR: 9
Reply 3, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9376 times:

Mesaba is the Ojibwa word for "soaring eagle" and Etihad is the abbreviation of "United Arab Emirates" in Arabic.

User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19927 posts, RR: 59
Reply 4, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9376 times:

Delta is named after its original company Delta Air Service, which was a crop dusting and then passenger and mail service, serving the Mississippi Delta region.

They are not named after a Greek letter (well, not directly, anyway).

Southwest started in Texas. Go figure.

Mexicana was an interesting name. Was from Compania de Aviación Mexicana, or Mexican Aviation Company. The name translates literally to "Mexican." I think Cubana is exactly the same.

KLM stands for some Dutch name which is completely unpronounceable to humans.  


User currently offlinerampart From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 3147 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9365 times:

Mesaba, I think, refers to the historic iron mining district in northern Minnesota, from whence the airline of that name once served. It's a native American word, but I don't know the translation.

-Rampart


User currently offlineazjubilee From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 3949 posts, RR: 28
Reply 6, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9350 times:

To build on the meaning of Mesaba... it gets its origins from Ojibwa but also the company started in north central MN, in Grand Rapids which is on/near the Mesabi iron range. I've also read another translation means "Faithful friend, giant of the skies."

User currently offlinevv701 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 7616 posts, RR: 17
Reply 7, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9327 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 4):
KLM stands for some Dutch name which is completely unpronounceable to humans

"Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij" of which the literal translation is "Royal Aviation Company".


User currently offlinerampart From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 3147 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9324 times:

Quoting azjubilee (Reply 6):
I've also read another translation means "Faithful friend, giant of the skies."

Found it, and you are very close. In Native American Place Names by William Bright, "mesaaba" is Ojibwa (Algonquin) meaning "giant". I think the airline is first named for the location in Minnesota, secondarily for the translation.

-Rampart


User currently offlineLightbug From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 73 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9326 times:

.

Quoting steex (Reply 3):
They are not named after a Greek letter (well, not directly, anyway).

That was always my thought, but I guess I am wrong here. And Mississippi? Not to offend anyone, but that was not exactly what came to mind   .


User currently offlineB777LRF From Luxembourg, joined Nov 2008, 1385 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9313 times:

KLM, translated, stands for Royal Airline Company.

Then theres AVIACO, which many mechanics will tell you stood for "After Visual Inspection All Corrosion Ok". They might be ever so slightly wrong tough  



From receips and radials over straight pipes to big fans - been there, done that, got the hearing defects to prove
User currently offlineQuokka From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9313 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 4):
KLM stands for some Dutch name which is completely unpronounceable to humans.


KLM = Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij = Royal Aviation Company, but you knew that already. 


User currently offlineazjubilee From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 3949 posts, RR: 28
Reply 12, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9313 times:

Nice catch Rampart! Mesaba has an interesting, long and proud history and I'm so glad the Mesaba name will live on in its new form when Colgan and Mesaba are merged.

User currently offlinezrs70 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 3180 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9288 times:

Many (former) US carriers are named for people:

Braniff
Trump
Muse (I think)
Hughes



14 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2013
User currently offlinesteex From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 1689 posts, RR: 9
Reply 14, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9281 times:

Quoting rampart (Reply 8):
Found it, and you are very close. In Native American Place Names by William Bright, "mesaaba" is Ojibwa (Algonquin) meaning "giant". I think the airline is first named for the location in Minnesota, secondarily for the translation.

-Rampart

The following is a quote taken directly from the Mesaba website:

Quote:
1944
July 4th - Gordy Newstrom founds Mesaba Airlines in Coleraine, Minn. Takes name from American Indian word for “soaring eagle.”
Mesaba has one plane, purchased for $1,300 and used to shuttle employees of the Blandin Paper Company from Grand Rapids, Minn., to the Twin Cities.

See http://www.mesaba.com/index.php?opti..._content&task=view&id=32&Itemid=67


User currently offlineKGRB From United States of America, joined Sep 2010, 718 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9281 times:

I like the names that have some character, like Mesaba, Chautauqua, Braniff, Delta, etc.

AirTran and jetBlue are so uncreative. The latter has literally no meaning, according to David Neeleman. Not sure about AirTran...

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 4):
KLM stands for some Dutch name which is completely unpronounceable to humans.

So the Dutch aren't humans?  



Δ D E L T A: Keep Climbing
User currently offlinevv701 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 7616 posts, RR: 17
Reply 16, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9269 times:

"Qantas" is "Queensland And Northern Territories Air Services".

User currently offlineLightbug From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 73 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9230 times:

Quoting vv701 (Reply 16):
"Qantas" is "Queensland And Northern Territories Air Services".

From what I have heard this is the most misspelled name in the airline world; even travel agencies spell it like Quantas instead of Qantas.


User currently offlineMarambio From UK - Scotland, joined Oct 2004, 1160 posts, RR: 25
Reply 18, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9157 times:

Quoting Lightbug (Reply 17):
From what I have heard this is the most misspelled name in the airline world; even travel agencies spell it like Quantas instead of Qantas.

Also www.quantas.com redirects to www.qantas.com  

- LAN Chile used to stand for Línea Aérea Nacional de Chile (Chile's National Airline). Nowadays, LAN means "Latin Airline Network".

- Avianca used to stand for Aerovías Nacionales de Colombia (Colombia's National Airways) until it was changed for "Airways of the American Continent" (Aerovías del Continente Americano).

- TACA used to stand for Transportes Aéreos Centroamericanos (Central-American Air Transport), until it was changed for "American Continent's Air Transport" (Transportes Aéreos del Continente Americano).

- PLUNA stands for Primeras Líneas Uruguayas de Navegación Aérea (First Uruguayan Air Navigation Lines).

- Aerolíneas Argentinas simply means Argentine Airlines in Spanish  

Saludos,
Marambio



Aerolíneas Argentinas - La Argentina que levanta vuelo.
User currently offlineDanVS From Brazil, joined Jul 2009, 254 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9154 times:

TAM (JJ): Transportes Aéreos Marília (Marilia Air Transports), named after the city where it started operations back in 1961, still as an air taxi compay (Taxi Aéreo Marília).

Gol (G3): quite straightforward ("goal" in soccer), thought of as one of the things Brazilians enjoy most = soccer.

How about:
Biman Bangladesh?
Monarch (butterfly and/or monarchy?)


User currently offlineskyguyB727 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9144 times:

Air Wisconsin (ZW) got its start in Appleton, WI. It's rather ironic that ZW headquarters is still in ATW, but the airline does not fly there. The only Wisconsin city served by Air Wisconsin is MKE.

Wisconsin Central Airlines started out in Clintonville, WI (CLI). Prior to becoming a scheduled airline, it served as a corporate shuttle for the Four Wheel Drive Corporation. Wisconsin Central later became North Central. North Central and Southern merged to become Republic. Republic bought Hughes Air West and was later acquired by Northwest. Of course, Northwest was then acquired by Delta.

As an interesting note, even after service to Clintonville was discontinued, Republic always listed Green Bay in its timetables as "Green Bay/Clintonville, WI". They always made reference to their roots.

Here's an interesting thing. Alaska Airlines (AS), while big in Alaska, is headquartered in Seattle, WA instead of a city in Alaska.

Cape Air (9K) is based in Cape Cod, MA. They have a very disconnected route structure. For example, they have a South Pacific division that flies as Continental Connection. It is not linked in any way with the rest of the 9K route system.

Great Lakes Aviation (ZK) used to be based in Fort Dodge, IA (FOD). Now they fly pretty much feeder service to and from DEN from various western cities. Wyoming and Colorado don't really have much to do with the Great Lakes region.


User currently offlineMarara From Australia, joined Oct 2001, 678 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9133 times:

Qantas actually stood for Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Services.

Virgin Blue got their names because of the red jets after a public naming competition. In Australia someone with red hair will often be nicknamed 'bluey'. Also to have a blue with someone is to have a fight. They were going to have a blue with Ansett and Qantas



I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. Jerome K Jerome
User currently offline2travel2know2 From Panama, joined Apr 2010, 2654 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 9051 times:

CM COPA Airlines used to be COmpañía Panameña de Aviación (Panamanian Aviation Company) now I think people believe it has something to do with Panamericana (Panamerican) instead of Panameña.


I'm not on CM's payroll.
User currently offlinerampart From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 3147 posts, RR: 6
Reply 23, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 9038 times:

Quoting steex (Reply 14):
The following is a quote taken directly from the Mesaba website:

When there is a chance of confusing origins of Native American words (often), I guess it's OK to play on the confusion and go ahead and name your airline after something possibly related to a bird. (I've seen "migizi" as Ojibwa for "eagle", which is close, I suppose.) I'll go with the references in the Bright book confirming mesaba = "giant", equivalent to the Minnesotan place name (refering the the mountain range, which could be thought of as large), but if the airline wants to have its own folklore, fine with me.

-Rampart


User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19927 posts, RR: 59
Reply 24, posted (3 years 12 months 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 8948 times:

Quoting KGRB (Reply 15):

So the Dutch aren't humans?

Is keesje human?  


25 Post contains images KELPkid : One must wonder about Mesa (YV): is Farmington, NM actually located on a geographical mesa? I have never noticed that, despite driving into FMN on sev
26 BMI727 : I believe that Lufthansa is basically the German word for airline. It was originally Deutsche Luft Hansa, or German Air Lines, but the Deutsche got dr
27 steex : "Biman" basically translates to "airplane" in modern Bengali, so the airline's name essentially translates to Bangladesh Airplane Airlines (if taken
28 steex : Reasonable enough, just wanted to point to Mesaba's own take on that matter as well.
29 AAR90 : Four Corners Regional Airport sits on a mesa. The city is essentially on three sides with La Plata Hwy to the west.
30 Ota1 : Well, this is not entirely true. The official name still is Deutsche Lufthansa or Lufthansa German Airlines (internationally). The word Lufthansa der
31 VC10er : I could be wrong but "LUFT" is "AIR" and" HANSA" is an acronym for a collection of German regions to the north. Like " VARIG". (Lipe, can you give us
32 Lutfi : Lufthansa doesn't mean airline. Hansa refers to the Hanseatic League, an old coalition of N German & Baltic trading cities. A closer meaning would
33 Ota1 : Viação Aérea RIo-Grandense
34 Ota1 : LOT - that derives from Polskie Linie Lotnicze meaning Polish Air Lines CSA - today this stands for České aerolinie (Czech Airlines) but originally
35 yowza : Etihad actually means union and in some cases united. It is not an acronym or a port manteau. YOWza
36 Post contains links and images cpd : Northern Territory and Queensland Aerial Services, Ltd: http://www.qantas.com.au/travel/airl...mage-gallery-advertising/global/en What a very humble
37 Ota1 : Got one more... Arkia - hebrew for "I will soar" IIRC...
38 kaitak : SABENA - Societe Anonyme Belge pour L'Exploitation de la Naviation Aerienne. Aer Lingus means "Air Fleet" in the Irish language. Many languages use th
39 rwy04lga : I believe it just means United Take heart, SG derves just one airport in Singapore QANTAS still stands for it to this day. The 'S' is service, not se
40 cpd : I'm afraid he's actually right - the very first ticket shows the name as "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited", with the signat
41 steex : I probably shouldn't have weighed in on that one as I'm neither an Arabic speaker nor a local, but my understanding is that Etihad is used locally as
42 kgaiflyer : From Portuguese-language companies: LAM -- Linhas Aereas de Mocambique TAAG -- Transportadora Aerea Angola TACV -- Transportes Aereos Cabo Verde TAP -
43 MH017 : Luchtvaart=Aviation, so 1st translation was correct (Airline=Luchtlijn or Luchtvaartmaatschappij) Antilleaanse Luchtvaart Maatschappij for ALM Surina
44 Post contains links aloges : TAM: formerly Táxi Aéreo Marília and later Transportes Aéreos Meridionais (TAM Brazil, Southern Air Transports) or Transportes Aéreos del Mercosu
45 cgnnrw : LTU - Luft Transport Unternehmen (Air Transportation Company). Now a part of Air Berlin CSA - Czech State Airlines
46 Woof : I thought Etihad was more closely translated to just "Union", although many think it is "United". I'm not sure if the latter should be taken as just
47 rwy04lga : I stand corrected
48 Viscount724 : Airlines named for people were actually in the distinct minority. It also seems to be bad luck from a longevity point of view. Almost all airlines na
49 aloges : ...and Widerøe, too. I was going to disagree on LAB because I never knew where "Lloyd" actually comes from, but having read up on it I have to say t
50 Post contains images B6JFKH81 : JetBlue's initial name (during the development phase) was NewAir. As the carrier continued to make headway in actually becoming an airline, the start
51 Post contains images YVRLTN : British Airways because they used to serve the British Isles........
52 Post contains links and images aloges : Speaking of which... View Large View MediumPhoto © Pedro Becken - Porto Spotter Even their callsign was "YELLOW CAB" - I still don't understand why
53 Severnaya : As we're really nitpicking here: should be: Antilliaanse Luchtvaart Maatschappij
54 B6JFKH81 : Actually, that isn't too far off from the drawings that I saw for the c/s of the aircraft...and the initial drawings were of 737's too LOL!
55 Post contains images KGRB : No argument here! I like the more regional sounding names, but jetBlue worked out well, no doubt. Because it's hideous??? Okay, a question for my YX
56 gemuser : No, it doesn't. The companies name is "Qantas Airways Limited". Qantas is now a word itself, NOT an abbreviation. Of course its origin IS in the abbr
57 Post contains images KPHXFlyer : Texas is termed part of the Southwest (at least it was while I lived there). It is most definitely not "The South" (well maybe not East Texas).
58 mayor : The Mississippi River Delta region, not the state of Mississippi. From Wiki...... "Formed as Huff Daland Dusters, Incorporated, an aerial crop dustin
59 Post contains images Lightbug : Thanks for your post! What you say makes sense. I did not mean to put the State of Mississippi down in my reply, but understand that the Delta name h
60 caliatenza : Air India and Indian Airlines are obvious. But many people dont know that Kingfisher is actually a beer. Spicejet is another obvious one, if anyone kn
61 Larshjort : Another airline named after a person is SUN-Air of Scandinavia a danish BA franchise partner. SUN was the pilot name given to Niels Sundberg, the air
62 klm77 : Where does Jet Airways come from? Kind of an odd name.[Edited 2010-11-03 11:39:36]
63 Post contains images PlymSpotter : Donbassaero takes its name from the Donbass region situated in the East of Ukraine where it is headquartered, so it basically means Donbass Air. Dan
64 Speedbird741 : Very minor correction. Transportadora Aerea Angolana Speedbird741
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