The 10 Oldest Existing Airlines

Cape Town – Brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright gave humankind the gift of flight in 1903 already, when the first successful human flight was executed on 17 December.  In 1903 already, a new benchmark for human transport was set by these innovative brothers.

In the century since the Wright brothers’ first flight, the world has seen many airlines come and go. Every smart business person or big company wanted a slice of the 35 000 ft pie, even though many were not able to meet the high mark.

Cream rises to the top, they say – much like these airlines that were able to stand the test of time and that are still considered to be world class airlines, even in 2014.

Here are the top 10 oldest existing international airlines of the 21st century. 

10. Aer Lingus

#dublin #airport #aerlingus #delta #usairways #ireland #Irlandia #lotnisko #airlines

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Aer Lingus (Irish for “air fleet”) is the national flag-bearing airline of Ireland and is still standing strong after its first commercial flight on 27 May 1936.  The airline operates from Dublin Airport and flies mostly Airbus aircrafts to Europe, North Africa, Turkey and North America.


9. American Airlines 

AA is one of the largest and oldest airlines in the States, with its first commercial flight taking off in 1934 already. Since then the airline has grown exponentially and now flies to North and South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.  Their headquarters are in Texas.  


8. Air France 

The flag-bearing airline of France was founded on 7 October 1933. The airline stood its ground even in tougher times, as they were one of only three main allies schedules airlines operating between Germany from 1950 – 1990, during the Cold War. The airline operates to 93 different countries in the world.  


7. Delta 

Delta Airlines is one of the major American airlines operating from Atlanta, Georgia in the south of America. The airline took off on 17 June 1929 and flies to 64 countries today. The first Delta aircraft was in fact a crop duster, after which one of the founders, Collett E. Woolman, changed it to a commercial airline.


6. Iberia 

Iberia Airlines is the flag-bearing carrier of Spain, and first took off on 15 December 1927. The airline, based in Madrid, has since grown exponentially, flying to 39 countries directly. The main hubs of Iberia operate from Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas and Barcelona El Prat Airports.


5. Lufthansa 

This is Germany flag-bearing airline, which is also the largest airline in Europe.  It first took flight in 1926 as official German carrier Deutsche Luft Hansa. In 1946, after Germany’s defeat, all national services were suspended, but in 1955 Lufthansa was again approved to fly. Today the airline is operating to 78 countries all over the world.


4. Czech Airlines 

This national Czech Republic airline took off on 6 October 1923 and is still going today. It was the first airline to successfully initiate jet airliner services in 1957 and flies to 48 countries worldwide. The airline is based in Prague’s Václav Havel Airport.


3. Aeroflot 

This airline is the flag-bearing and largest operating airline of the Russian Federation. The first commercial flight took off on 15 July 1923, and they’re still flying high today. The airline operates from Sheremetyevo International Airport. The airline was the national airline of the Soviet and during the Soviet era, it was considered to be the largest airline in the world.


2. Qantas 

With their distinctive kangaroo logo, it’s obvious that this is the national carrier of the land Down Under. Qantas was airborne in March 1921 for the first time. The fact that Qantas is listed as the second oldest existing airline comes as no surprise as people on the Australian island were dependant on ship travel only before Qantas came around.


  1.        KLM

In the name of KLM being the oldest, here we go in Dutch. De eerste vlucht van de luchtvaartmaatschappij nam naar de hemel op 7 oktober 1919 en is sindsdien uitgegroeid tot een instituut in de luchtvaartindustrie. Het is nog steeds onder haar oorspronkelijke naam, de Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij NV, maar vandaag vliegt naar 90 bestemmingen wereldwijd. Lang leve KLM!

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