DJMEL
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What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:36 am

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
 
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Acey559
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What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:42 am

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.
 
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ERJ135
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What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 6:32 am

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!
 
HAL
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What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:48 am

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.
 
FlyingAY
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What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:03 am

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
 
TheSonntag
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What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:37 am

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.
 
HAL
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What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:46 am



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.
 
UAEflyer
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What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:46 am

I believe that Egypt Air is the first airline in the Middle East
 
RCS763AV
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What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:56 am

World: KLM
Asia/Pacific: Qantas
Americas: Avianca
Europe: KLM
Africa: ?
Middle East: ?
 
TN486
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What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:42 pm



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
 
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MayaviaERJ190
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What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:45 pm

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.
 
TN486
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:10 pm



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
 
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CARST
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:20 pm



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...
 
TN486
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:36 pm



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
 
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jedward
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:41 pm



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.
 
aussieindc
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:41 pm



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?
 
TN486
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:45 pm



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
 
GentFromAlaska
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:57 pm

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.
 
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CARST
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:57 pm



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".
 
swiftski
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:15 pm



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.
 
HAL
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:19 pm



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.
 
HAL
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:23 pm



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.
 
captaink
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:51 pm

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....
 
bmacleod
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 6:18 pm

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.
 
EkA380
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 6:22 pm

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

Islam
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airbuster
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 6:57 pm

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 and is run by the same kind of people....and it has the same name, so why is it that since the ownership changed the whole company changed.

Excuse my dutch pride speaking here but KLM is still the oldest airline operating under it's original name, after all klm had the first choice in color scheme and chose SKYBLUE!

rgds

AB
FLY FOKKER JET LINE!
 
deaphen
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 7:40 pm



Quoting Airbuster (Reply 25):
after all klm had the first choice in color scheme and chose SKYBLUE!

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 themselves that there really is such a thing as a blue sky  Smile  Smile

lol

Nitin
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AFKL
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 7:58 pm



Quoting TN486 (Reply 9):
Oldest continuance is QANTAS, KLM is now owned by Air France since 2001

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, I have to say that I disagree.

Although the holding company of Air France (Groupe Air France) has taken over KLM, it does not mean it is no longer the same company, it merely has a new, albeit a French, owner. KLM and Air France both have two seperate operating licenses - both KLM and Air France operate as two seperate entities with two different identities, catering for two different markets. In the end KLM is still very much a Dutch run airline that the Dutch people can be very proud of. Some of you may not agree, but this is my personal opinion.

If we look at the case with Delta and Northwest, it is a different situation. NW will become DL, and the NW identity will dissapear. Personally I don't see KLM aircraft being painted in AF colours any time soon.


ALLARD.
ALLARD. First flight: KLM DC-10, LLW - AMS.
 
jamincan
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:46 pm



Quoting TN486 (Reply 9):
Oldest continuance is QANTAS, KLM is now owned by Air France since 2001

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 QANTAS Empire Airways Ltd. (est. 1934) which was a company jointly owned by the original QANTAS and BOAC. This company was later bought from QANTAS and BOAC by the Australian government after the war.

How is that any more continuous than KLM, which still operates as a separate airline with a separate license etc. and which is simply under the ownership of a holding company which also happens to own Air France (and Transavia etc.)?

Quoting Bmacleod (Reply 23):
However QANTAS has the longest continuous service worldwide.

According to Wikipedia, KLM continued operations in the Netherlands Antilles during the war. Was this a separate brand or subsidiary?
 
MX77W
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:50 pm

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 merge with AF although they are still operating under the same brand)
ASIA/PACIFIC: Qantas
AMERICAS: Mexicana
EUROPE: KLM/Aeroflot (Debatable due to same reasons as above)
MIDDLE EAST: Oldest I could find was Saudi Arabian founded in 1945
AFRICA: Also oldest I could find was Ethiopian also in 1945

Anyone care to double check the Middle East & Africa?

Also, should we divide ASIA & The PACIFIC?

Congrats to KLM/QANTAS & MEXICANA for being around for sooooo long! Hopefully they will stick around till the end of times!

Best,

MX 77W
Mexicana lives on...
 
swabrian
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:52 pm

Up until the merger with Delta in 1987, it was generally considered that Western was the oldest continually operating airline in the US.
 
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ERJ135
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:26 pm

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 group was Incorporated on May 5th 2004 as a new airline using the original operating license. However as operations continued as normal with some route changes and no livery change no one would question it as the same carrier. That being said in the original merger deal the brand name of KLM was guaranteed till the end of 2008. After December 31st, Air France could change everything about KLM if it wanted to, Name Colours Identity. Not that they will but they can.

Qantas on the other hand has had several changes of ownership from the original outback Queensland air service to the Qantas Empire Airways, The government owned Qantas, and now the privately owned Qantas we have today. However unlike KLM Qantas was never
re-incorporated. This may change soon however as Qantas is in advanced talks with British Airways to form a "KLM-Airfrance" style Merger. Also keen to talk about a similar deal with Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines. Possibly with all four carriers ultimately in a mega merger with each carrier maintaining their own identity.
I remember when the DC-3 was new!
 
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AmricanShamrok
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:55 pm

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 was a 9-seat aircraft called "Iolar" meaning Eagle.
 
staralliance38
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Thu Dec 04, 2008 4:13 am

I think you should split Asia and Australia/Oceania.

Australia: QANTAS

Asia: Philippine Airlines!!

Proudly Philippine Airlines! 1941 FTW!

Can't really argue with Asia's most experienced airline....
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vhqpa
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:18 pm

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 back to the Current BA with BEA) started operations sometime 1919 I got this from a newspaper so I wouldn't be surprised it this is incorrect. If this is true does this mean that the worlds oldest airline can be debated into BA's favour afterall they can trace their origins to 1919 albeit with various name changes over the years. Did B.O.A.C. ever stop passenger operations in WW2?



Quoting CARST (Reply 12):
Quantas

Oh dear A.net crime #38
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767nutter
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:34 pm

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (English for Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij. correct me if i'm wrong Airbuster) is the national airline of the Netherlands and is part of Air France-KLM. Based in Amstelveen, the Netherlands. It operates domestic and worldwide scheduled passenger and cargo services to more than 90 destinations. Its main base is Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. KLM is the oldest airline in the world still operating under its original name. It has 30,118 employees (as of June 2008 ) And was founded in October 7 1919. ( sorry for repeating what you said CARST but seems right just to add that on)

Quoting TN486 (Reply 9):
KLM is now owned by Air France since 2001

KLM merged with Air France in 2004! This created Air France-KLM (as you all know!!!) and is incorporated under French law with headquarters at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris, France. Both Air France and KLM continue to fly under their distinct brand names.( Again as you all know)
 
burnsie28
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Sat Dec 06, 2008 5:25 pm

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 their airline IMO, tracing roots yes, but saying thats when they started doesn't work sorry... thats two completely different things and biz strategies.

I believe the honors will now go to United. Before NW it was TW.
 
henkybaby
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RE: What Is The Oldest Airline Flying Today?

Sun Dec 07, 2008 9:28 am

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...  Smile
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