World’s Oldest Surviving Airlines


Since the invention of the first aircraft known as the ‘world’s first successful motor-operated airplane’ by the Wright Brothers on December 17, 1903. We have seen numerous airlines come into existence and somehow disappears due to different challenges ranging from Finance, Fuel factor, Labour unrest, Over capacity and Global events such as pandemics.

We only have few airlines that were established between 1920’s and 1930’s across the world in existence and still flying with more than 90 years flying history.


The Royal Dutch Airlines legally known as Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij or KLM is the national airline of the Netherlands. KLM was established in 1919 making it the world’s oldest operating airline. The airline still operates under its original name scheduling passengers and cargo services to about 130 destinations. The headquarters of KLM is in the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. As of 2013, the airline had 32, 505 employees. The first KLM flight took off on May 17th, 1920.


The Aerovías del Continente Americano (Avianca), is the national airline of Colombia founded on December 5th, 1919, under the name SCADTA. Avianca is one of the largest and most prestigious airlines in South America, and its headquarters are based in Bogotà, DC and its central hub at Eldorado International Airport. Avianca is the second oldest airline in the world after KLM and the oldest operating airline in the Americas.


Qantas Airways, the national airline of Australia and the largest by international flights, fleet size, and international destinations, was founded in Winton, Queensland on November 16th, 1920, making it the world’s third oldest airline after KLM and Avianca. Qantas is an acronym for Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services and is also known as The Flying Kangaroo which is a reference to its logo. The airline headquarters is based in the Sydney Airport and commenced international passenger flights in May 1935. Qantas is also the oldest continuously operating airline in the world after KLM suspended their services during World War II.

Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines is a preeminent American Airline  founded in 1924, with its headquarters and biggest hub is located at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia. It is the sixth-oldest operating airline in the world by founding date and also the oldest operating airline in the United States. Delta Airlines started passenger services on June 17th, 1920, and is currently operating more than 5,400 flights a day to 319 destinations in six continents and 54 countries.

Egypt Air

Egypt Air is the national airline of Egypt, with its headquarters and the main hub based at the Cairo International Airport. The airline was founded on June 7th, 1932, but commenced its operations in July 1933 and currently schedules passenger and cargo services to more than 75 destinations in Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, and the Americas. As of December 2014, Egypt Air had approximately 9,000 employees.



Though Iberia has been part of a company called I.A.G. since 2011, along with other major carriers like British Airways and Aer Lingus, Iberia itself is over 90 years old now. Its maiden flight, from Madrid to Barcelona on December 14, 1927, was inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII of Spain. Now, the airline has a fleet of around 80 planes and flies to nearly 100 destinations and is a member of the Oneworld alliance. The airline was founded on June 28, 1927 and is based in Spain.

Air Serbia

Air Serbia has undergone several reinventions since established June 17, 1927. Was first called Aeroput, it was reestablished as JAT, short for Jugoslovenski Aerotransport, in 1947, and then Jat Airways in 2003. Along with an investment from Etihad, the airline became Air Serbia in 2013. It currently has a fleet of 21 aircraft and flies to over 40 destinations.


Called Aero when it was founded back in 1923, Finnair’s first aircraft was a German Junkers F13 seaplane. Its skis allowed it to float on water or land or ice since, at the time the airline began flying in 1924, there were no commercial airfields in Finland. The airline’s final seaplane flight took place in December 1936, from which point all flights took off and landed on solid ground, which seems a pity. Finnair was the first western airline to operate regular flights to the U.S.S.R. after World War II, and the first to offer flights from Western Europe to Mainland China starting in 1988. The airline officially changed its name to Finnair in 1968 and joined the Oneworld alliance in 1997. Today, Finnair flies to over 130 destinations and has over 60 aircraft.

Czech Airlines

The name Czech Airlines only dates to May 1995, but the company was originally called Czechoslovak State Airlines, or CSA, when it was founded back in the 1923. The carrier’s first flight took place from Prague to Bratislava on October 29, 1923, and the airline grew from there until March 1939, when it ceased operations until September 1945 due to World War II.

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