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Back in the Day: world's oldest airline gets off the ground

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Back in the Day: world's oldest airline gets off the ground


October 7, 1919. KLM, currently the world’s oldest flag-carrier airline, is founded in the Netherlands. Known in English as Dutch Royal Airlines, KLM actually stands for Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij. The company’s first flight took place six months after its creation, when pilot Jerry Shaw flew a De Havilland DH-16 from London to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. The first intercontinental flights were between Schiphol and Batavia in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) until after WWII when KLM became the first continental European airline to offer a scheduled service to New York. In 1991 it became the first carrier in mainland Europe to introduce a frequent flyer program. In 2004 the company merged with Air France although KLM still operates under its original name.

Also on October 7: founding of Air France (1933); Nigeria joins the United Nations (1960); Arnold Schwarzenegger is elected Governor of California (2003).

Born on October 7: Desmond Tutu (1931), John Mellencamp (1951), Vladimir Putin (1952), Yo-Yo Ma (1955), Simon Cowell (1959), Thom Yorke (1968).

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