Oldest Airline?

Sat Aug 12, 2000 12:50 am

Hi everyone.

It just occured to me that I don't know what is the US's oldest airline (Delta?) and the world's oldest airline (JAL?).

If anyone has this info and would like to share it please reply to this post.

Thank you,

RE: Oldest Airline?

Sat Aug 12, 2000 12:52 am

I believe the world's oldest is KLM, not sure about US, I think it used to be Pan Am.
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RE: Oldest Airline?

Sat Aug 12, 2000 12:59 am

KLM it is, check it out...
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RE: Oldest Airline?

Sat Aug 12, 2000 1:03 am

The world's oldest is considered to be KLM, as it was started in 1919.

Pan Am was once the oldest continually-running American airline, started in 1927 (64 years total). It has now been surpassed by the likes of American (66 years) and United (69 years).
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RE: Oldest Airline?

Sat Aug 12, 2000 1:15 am

May I please have information about the founding of Delta, Continental and Eastern? I know that NWA was founded in 1926 and at its founding carried mail between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Chicago. I believe that US Airways was founded shortly after WWII, but please correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks.

P.S. sorry for being off-topic with this post.
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RE: Oldest Airline?

Sat Aug 12, 2000 1:16 am

I have heard that the oldest existing airline company is DDL - Det Danske Luftfartsselskab (Danish Airline Company). And it is slightly older than KLM.
DDL does, however, not operate airliners, and has not done so for more than fifty years. So it hardly counts.
They own a lot of airliners - or at least they have them registered on their name on the national register, but they are operated by SAS, which is owned by DDL plus DNL (Norway) and ABA (Sweden).
Preben Norholm
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RE: Oldest Airline?

Sat Aug 12, 2000 1:28 am

Most of the arline websites have blurbs about the company's history. I know Delta was founded originally as a crop-dusting operation near Monroe, LA (think the Mississippi DELTA) back in the '20s or '30s. I'm told they always had their annual shareholders' meeting in Monroe up until 10 or 15 years ago. And I think that's part of why they still have large jet (737 or DC-9/MC-80) service to Monroe.
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RE: Oldest Airline?

Sat Aug 12, 2000 1:40 am

Wasn't TWA founded in 1925? I believe it's either TWA or Western Airlines (which, at one time was part of TWA [Transcontinental & Western Air Express]). So, depending on which branch of the family tree you look at, it's probably one of those carriers.

And since Western is now part of Delta, do we consider Delta the oldest carrier?
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RE: Oldest Airline?

Sat Aug 12, 2000 1:43 am

TWA is the oldest U.S. airline in existence. It predecessor was founded in 1925. TWA just celebrated its 75th birthday last month.
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RE: Oldest Airline?

Sat Aug 12, 2000 1:50 am

LOT Polish Airlines is from 1929 so its 10 years younger then KLM
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The 4 Oldest Airlines!

Sat Aug 12, 2000 1:58 am

Here is the list of the fourth oldest airlines in the world.


What is the 5th oldest? Brathens?

Pan Am - The World's Most Experienced Airline.

RE: Oldest Airline?

Sat Aug 12, 2000 2:40 am

KLM was formed on October 7, 1919 with its first scheduled flight.
However, Chalk International Airlines has been operating small flying aircraft from Miami to the Bahamas since July of 1919. Check it out in the 1998 Guinness World Records Book!



Sat Aug 12, 2000 4:05 am

You can find information about Delta's history on their website.
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RE: Oldest Airline/Chalk No

Sat Aug 12, 2000 4:43 am

Chalk have a couple of service breaks leaving KLM a clear winner.
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RE: Oldest Airline/Chalk No

Sat Aug 12, 2000 4:50 am

I also heard Western was the oldest US airline. So I guess that would make delta the oldest.

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RE: Oldest Airline? LOT Is One Of Them!

Sat Aug 12, 2000 5:01 am


Although LOT Polish Airlines officially became the state airline in 1929, it took over 3 previously operated (and private) airlines: Aerolloyd (Polish subsidiary of a German airline), Aerolot and Aerotarg. The official date is, thus, 1929 but the beginning of the airline is the early 1920s.

These airlines trace their beginnings to 1919-1921, transporting a few passengers between Gdansk (Dantzing) and Warsaw and between Poznan (Posen) and Warsaw. LOT and Polish pilots even started the first mail transport in Europe between Austria and Cracow in 1919!

Thomas Szymanski
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RE: Oldest Airline?

Sat Aug 12, 2000 5:07 am

Delta dates from 1924, this according to their website. I also believe Varig dates from the late 19teens, early 20s. I seem to remember hearing or reading that they were S. America's oldest and maybe rank as one of the world's oldest.
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RE: Oldest Airline?

Sat Aug 12, 2000 5:15 am

The worlds oldest is KLM, since 1919. The US's oldest is Delta, since 192something.

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RE: Oldest Airline/Chalk No

Sat Aug 12, 2000 6:56 am

Not to mention the fact that Chalk's wasn't even an airline until the mid to late 1950's! Until then they were merely an Air Taxi service, with, as someone else pointed out, large breaks in scheduled services. KL and QF are without doubt #1 and #2 oldest scheduled airline operators flying. KLM for it's part does always acknowledge the technical issues involved with the Chalks debate by self proclaiming itself as oldest continually operated scheduled carrier still under it's own name.

RE: Oldest Airline?

Sat Aug 12, 2000 9:33 am

The oldest us airline is United, it was origanally a part of boeing. I bought a book on boeing at barnes and noble a couple of weeks ago.

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