Five Oldest Airlines in the World Still Existing


These airlines have weathered all kinds of storms, from the first and second
World Wars to the Covid-19 pandemic, and they’re still going strong. They’ve
got plenty of tales about hanging tough, expanding, and rolling with the
changes. So, let’s talk about the five oldest airlines that are still up in the sky


KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 737-800 airplane at Amsterdam Schiphol airport (AMS) in the Netherlands.

KLM, short for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, is the granddaddy of them all.
Started in 1919, it’s the oldest airline still operating under its original name.
The airline kicked off its journey with a flight from Amsterdam to London.
KLM was also the first to set up an airline ticket and reservation office, back
in 1921 in Amsterdam. They even had a sister airline, Royal NetherlandsEast Indies Airlines, which later became part of KLM. During World War II,
KLM had to limit its operations but bounced back quickly, becoming the first
European airline to fly to New York in 1946. Even after merging with Air
France in 2004, KLM kept its identity, continuing to operate under its own
name and logo.


Avianca Airbus A319 airplane at Medellin Rionegro airport (MDE) in Colombia.

Avianca, Colombia’s national airline, started its operations in 1919 as
SCADTA. The airline was a game-changer in Latin America, connecting
coastal and inland cities in record time. In 1940, SCADTA became Avianca
and expanded its wings to the United States. Despite facing bankruptcy in
2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Avianca has managed to keep its
legacy alive, continuing to be a major player in Latin American aviation.


Qantas Airways Airbus A380 takes off from Melbourne International Airport at Tullamarine, Victoria.

Qantas, or Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services, started as a
small operation in 1920. The airline was crucial for connecting remote
communities in Australia. Qantas went international in 1935, extending its
service from Darwin to Singapore. The airline embraced the jet age in 1959
and has continued to evolve, becoming a major global airline.


Frankfurt, Germany – July 23, 2013: An Airbus A320 of russian airline Aeroflot taxiing on the runway of Frankfurt Airport. Frankfurt International Airport is the largest airport in Germany. Aeroflot is the flag carrier of Russia and the largest russian airline. Founded in 1923 it is headquartered in Moscow, Russia

Aeroflot, founded in 1923, was initially called Dobroflot. The airline was the
backbone of the Soviet Union’s aviation industry, operating an extensive
network of domestic and international flights. After the fall of the Soviet
Union, Aeroflot underwent a major transformation, modernizing its fleet and
expanding its global reach. Today, it’s the largest airline in Russia, holding a
significant share of the country’s air market.

Czech Airlines

Czech Airlines started its journey in 1923 as Czechoslovak State Airlines.
The airline initially focused on domestic flights but quickly expanded
to international routes. Despite facing numerous challenges, including
bankruptcy in 2021, Czech Airlines has managed to survive and adapt,
remaining a key player in European aviation.

Airbus A319 aircraft operated by Ceske Aerolinie in Prague, Czech Republic,


Article compiled by Gp Capt Kuma Kirenge ( SLAF Retd)

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Pictures Courtesy: Getty Images