What is the oldest airline in the world?

Seb Mooze

The aviation industry holds an enormous history behind, starting with the earliest forms of aviation such as kites and finishing with supersonic and hypersonic flight by heavier-than-air jets.

During the 20s century, the aviation industry welcomed numerous world-known airlines. In 2019, a couple of them have already celebrated its 100th anniversaries. Have a glance at five of the world’s oldest airlines and get to know which airlines are going to celebrate their 100th anniversaries!


The Royal Dutch Airlines, known as KLM, was established on October 7, 1919. In 1920, the airline operated its first flight from Croydon Airport, London, to Amsterdam, the Netherlands using a four-seater De Havilland DH.16.

The home base of the KLM is Amsterdam, from where the KLM Group served its global network.

KLM is the oldest airline in the world, which still operates under its original name. The Royal Dutch Airlines turned 100 years old in October 2019.

The flag carrier airline of the Netherlands proved its name as being the first in the world by introducing the first social media-driven flight schedule, 2017.

Avianca (AVHOQ)

One more from a list of the world’s oldest airlines is Avianca (AVHOQ), which was established on 5 December 5, 1919. Avianca (AVHOQ) was originally named Colombian-German Air Transport Company (SCADTA) and operated a fleet of Junkers F13 aircraft.

The home base of Avianca (AVHOQ) is the El Dorado International Airport, in Bogotá, Colombia. Avianca (AVHOQ) has been the flag carrier of Colombia since 1919. The air carrier celebrated its 100th anniversary in December 2019.

The flag carrier of Colombia and one of the world’s oldest airlines proved its constant growth by being the real Latin American e-commerce leader in tourism. Since 2010, Avianca (AVHOQ) has been granted e-commerce-related awards over ten times.


Following KLM and Avianca (AVHOQ), Qantas Airways takes third place among the oldest airlines in the world. The flag carrier of Australia was established in November 1920. The first aircraft of the airliner was an Avro 504, a pre-World War I biplane that could seat a pilot and one passenger. Qantas started its international flights in 1935.

The name of Qantas stands for “Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services” and it is also nicknamed as “The Flying Kangaroo.”

Qantas Airways is the largest Australian airline by fleet size, international flights, and international destinations. The home base of the Australian flag carrier is in Sydney.


The next world’s oldest airline is Russian Airlines, better known as Aeroflot, was founded on February 3, 1923. The airline took off for its first-ever flight on July 15, 1923, using a Junkers F13 aircraft, heading from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod and carrying six people, including four passengers and two crew members.

The Russian flag carrier was originally named Dobrolet. In 1932, it was renamed Aeroflot after the Soviet government decided to place the whole civilian aviation fleet under one single entity.

The main hub of the Aeroflot is Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow. Since 2017, Aeroflot has held the highest, five-star rating in the most prestigious category, Global Airlines.

Czech Airlines

On October 6, 1923, the world’s fifth oldest airline was founded. Czech Airlines started as a national airline in Czechoslovakia. The Prague-based carrier operated its first transport flight from Prague to Bratislava on October 29, 1923, with an Aero A-14 bi-plane.

The work of Czech Airlines was interrupted during World War II. The airline was reinstated by the post-war Communist government right after the “Victorious February” in 1948.

In 1957, Czech Airlines was the first airline in the world to fly regular jet-only routes between Prague and Moscow, using Tupolev Tu-104A. The Tu-104 was used by only Czech Airlines and Aeroflot at that time.

Through the years, Czech Airlines has grown into a modern airline and holds the name as one of the oldest airlines in Europe and in the world.

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