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Founded by the famous airship engineer Edouard Surcouf, Compagnie Générale Transaérienne was one of the very first airlines ever. On October 10, 1909, CGT was officially constituted in Paris. They started with offering scenic flights with a rigid airship of the ASTRA type. Whenever this airship changed its location, its name was changed, too. In France it was called "Ville de Nancy" and later "Ville de Pau". In summer 1910 it operated in Switzerland at lake Lucerne and was renamed in "Ville de Lucerne". On 22 March 1913 GGT started the world's first scheduled passenger-carrying flights, operating at least one three-seat floatplane (Astra CM Hydro-avion) from Cannes to Nice. Two passengers could be carried. in 1921 CGT was sold to another airline, which later merged to Air France.
Founded in 1918, DDL (Det Danske Luftfartselskab / Danish Air Lines), was Denmark's national airline. DDL started its first scheduled route in 1920. In 1951 it merged with DNL (Det Norske Luftfartselskap) and SILA (Svensk Interkontinental Lufttrafik) to create SAS (Scandinavian Airlines System).
One of the very first airlines. The company Lignes Aériennes Farman (Farman Air Lines) was created on February 8, 1919. Later they were renamed to Société Générale de Transport Aérien (SGTA). The airline was created by the Farman brothers, who also owned the Farman Aviation Works. In 1933 they were incorporated in the newly created Air France .
As far as I know, the longest operating airline worldwide. KLM Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij (Royal Dutch Air Lines) was founded in 1919. It is still operating and the flag carrier airline of the Netherlands. KLM merged with Air France, but both use their names till today.
Qantas Airways is the one of the oldest, still operating airlines in the world. Founded in 1920, it is the flag carrier airline of Australia. The airline began international passenger flights in May 1935. QANTAS is an acronym for "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services", and it is nicknamed ”The Flying Kangaroo”. In June 1959 Qantas entered the jet age with a Boeing 707.
Air Union was established 1923 as the result of a merger between the airlines Compagnie des Messageries Aériennes and Compagnie des Grands Express Aériens. In 1933 Air Union was merged together with four other French airlines to become Air France .
The russian company Aeroflot is one of the worldwide oldest (and still operating) airlines, tracing its history back to 1923.
CSA (ČSA České aerolinie / Czech Airlines), founded in 1923, is the national airline of the Czech Republic and still operating. In 1957 CSA was the second airline in the world to initiate successful jet airliner services (using the Tu-104, the world's first successful jet airliner) and simultaneously the first airline to fly regular jet-only routes (between Prague and Moscow).
SABENA (an acronym for "Societé Anonyme Belge d'Exploitation de la Navigation Aérienne") began operations in 1923 as the national carrier of Belgium. In 1925 and Sabena began flights within Congo, the Belgian colony in Africa. In 1946 they changed their name in "SABENA – Belgian World Airlines". In the 1950s, SABENA developed a fleet of helicopters serving the main cities of Belgium and some cities in France, the Netherlands and Germany. The routes were flown first with Sikorsky S-55, later with Sikorsky S-58. From 1956 to 1964, the company maintained a helicopter line between Brussels and Paris and back. SABENA was mainland Europe's first airline to operate a jet across the Atlantic (Boeing 707 to New York in 1960).
Founded in 1926 as Deutsche Luft Hansa A.G. (in 1933 changed the name to Deutsche Lufthansa). After WW II a new national airline, a company called Luftag was founded. In 1954 Luftag acquired the name and logo from the liquidated Deutsche Lufthansa.
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On 1 April 1955 Lufthansa got approval to start scheduled domestic flights. International flights started a few weeks later to London, Paris, and Madrid, followed by Super Constellation flights to New York City and across the South Atlantic.
was founded in 1955. The airline served as flag carrier of German Democratic Republic (East Germany). Because of the illegal usage of the (West German) Lufthansa branding the East German company was under constant legal pressure. The company was liquidated in 1963 and replaced by Interflug .
Founded in 1927, IBERIA (Líneas Aéreas de España) is still operating and the flag carrier and the largest airline of Spain. After WWI, in 1946, IBERIA was the first airline to fly between Europe and South America, using a Douglas DC-4.
Pan American World Airways, established in 1927, is commonly known as Pan Am. It was the largest international air carrier in the United States until 1991. The airline was founded as a scheduled air mail and passenger service operating between Key West, Florida, and Havana, Cuba. In 1955 Pan Am was the launch customer of the Boeing 707. It’s first scheduled jet flight with 707 was from New York to Paris on October 26, 1958. Many of their posters published in the fifties have the size 42" x 28" (app. 106,5 x 71 cm, including white margins), following the rule "big airline – big posters".
was the first Serbian company for civil air traffic and flag carrier of Yugoslavia. Aeroput was the national carrier of the Kingdom of SHS, and then the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The airline ceased to exist during World War II in Yugoslavia.In 1947, the now nationalized airline was renamed Jugoslovenski Aerotransport (JAT; English: Yugoslav Air Transport). Aeroput was finally liquidated on 24 December 1948 with the ban on private corporations. The Serbian national air carrier still flies today under the name Air Serbia.
Established in 1929, LOT (Polskie Linie Lotnicze / Polish Airlines) is one of the world's oldest airlines still in operation. LOT is the flag carrier of Poland. LOT's well-renowned logo was designed in 1929 by the local artist Tadeusz Gronowski and it’s still in use today!
American Airways was developed from a conglomeration of 82 US airlines through acquisitions in 1930. A few years later AA asked Donald Douglas to develop the DC-3. In 1936 AA was first airline which flew this famous 2 propeller-driven airliner. Today American Airlines is the world's largest airline by passengers flown, passenger kilometers flown, fleet size and revenue. Most of the AA vintage posters are wider than usual: 40" x 30" (app. 101,5 x 76 cm) – size matters!
TWA was founded in 1930, it was a merger of Transcontinental Air Transport (T-A-T) and Western Air Express to form T&WA (Transcontinental & Western Air). In 1950, the airline officially changed its name to Trans World Airlines (TWA). In the fifties TWA became well-regarded by Hollywood movie stars and executives and became known as the "Airline To The Stars." In 2001 TWA went bankrupt and became part of American Airlines.
The airline was founded in 1929 as NYRBA do Brasil. It was renamed and started operations in 1930 as Panair do Brasil. It was a subsidiary of NYRBA, which was forced to merge into its competitor, Pan American World Airways. This is the reason of the similarity between the early PAA and Panair logos. After WW II Panair was the only Brazilian airline which operates services to Europe. Panair was forced by the Brazilian military government to cease operations abruptly on February 10, 1965. Former employees of Panair do Brasil attend an annual reunion on the week of October 22, the airline's birthday, in Rio de Janeiro. This tradition has been religiously preserved since 1966.
Swissair (Schweizerische Luftverkehr-AG / Société Anonyme Suisse pour la Navigation Aérienne) was founded in 1931 through the fusion of the airlines Ad Astra Aero (founded in 1919) and Balair (founded in 1925). The company was for many years the national airline of Switzerland and for decades one of the major international airlines. As the first European airline, Swissair bought the Douglas DC-7C (nickname Seven Seas) which enabled them to offer non-stop flights to the United States. The Convair Metropolitan – the first commercial plane using airborne radar – was used for shorter-range routes. This spectacular plane inspired Swissair to publish a spectacular poster too: the one sheet edition of this poster (design: Kurt Wirth) is shown by the MOMA in New York. The extremely rare 50" x 35" double size edition (see below) was published in 1956 too. Swissairs jet age began in 1960 by flying Douglas DC-8.
Misr ist the Arab name for Egypt. The airline was founded in 1932 and served since 1933 the route Cairo–Alexandria–Marsa Matruh. Because of a lot of tourists in this early times of travelling they offered flights following the river Nile two times a week. With destinations in Palestine, the first international destinations were added to the route network in 1934. In 1936, flights to Nicosia (Cyprus) and Baghdad (Iraq) were added. In 1939 the Arline was renamed to Misr Airlines. In 1949, the British parent company Airwork sold its shares to the Egyptian state. The airline was renamed again: MisrAir was the national carrier of Egypt now. The merger of Egypt and Syria to form the United Arab Republic on February 1, 1958, changed the company's name to United Arab Airlines.
One of the oldest and still operating airlines. Founded in 1933, it was a merger of Air Orient, Air Union, Compagnie Générale Aéropostale, Compagnie Internationale de Navigation Aérienne (CIDNA), and Société Générale de Transport Aérien (SGTA – formerly known as Farman Air Lines). They published a lot of wonderful posters and asked always the best designer to create them. For instance, the well known artist Victor Vasarely ist the painter of the Constellation flying towards the stunning sundown (Air France - Amerique du Sud).
AIR-FER was a joint-venture for freight between Air France and SNCF, the national french railway company.
In 1934, UATC (United Aircraft and Transport Corporation) separated into United Air Lines, United Aircraft (the future United Technologies) and the Boeing Airplane Company. In 1961 United merged with Capital Airlines, displacing rival American Airlines as the world's second largest airline behind Aeroflot. Currently United is the world's largest airline when measured by number of worldwide destinations served.
The independent french airline Aeromaritime was founded in 1935 to develop the air transport to Africa. Because of the absence of airfields the Aeromaritime was flying on Sikorsky S-43 seaplanes. The first flight to "Pointe noire" in Congo was the 17 mai 1937. The stopovers were Dakar, Conakry, Abidjan, Lomé, Cotonou, Douala, Port Gentil and Pointe Noire.
Aer Lingus was founded in 1936. It is Ireland's oldest extant airline. ”Aer Lingus” is an anglicisation of the Irish form ”Are Loingeas”, which means Air Fleet.
DETA (Direcção de Exploração de Transportes Aéreos / Moçambique Airlines) was established in 1936. DETA was Mozambique's flag carrier until 1980. In 1980 DETA was renamed LAM (Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique).
Air Afrique was formed by french colonial government in 1937 (a merger between three airlines) to operate routes from Algiers to the Congo and to Madagascar. The route Goa–Bamako was operated too. The former company Régie Air Afrique was formed in 1934 and startet with airmail service only, one year later they were opened for passenger traffic.
Please notice: The Air Afrique we know today (operating 1961 – 2002) has nothing to do with the old company with the same name. The younger Air Afrique was a Pan-African airline, that was jointly owned by various West African countries. It was established as the official transnational carrier for francophone West and Central Africa, because many of these countries did not have the capability to create and maintain a national airline. It was headquartered in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.
The Air Afrique we know today has nothing to do with the old company with the same name. The younger Air Afrique was a Pan-African airline, that was jointly owned by various West African countries. It was established as the official transnational carrier for francophone West and Central Africa, because many of these countries did not have the capability to create and maintain a national airline. It was headquartered in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.
BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) was the British state-owned airline. BOAC was the result of the merger of Imperial Airways and British Airways in 1940. Nine years later BOAC absorbed BSAA (British South American Airways). In 1952, a BOAC De Havilland Comet took off on the world's first jetliner flight with fare-paying passengers and inaugurated scheduled service from London to Johannesburg. BOAC was Europe's first airline to operate a jet across the Atlantic, using the de Havilland Comet 4 since October 1958. In 1974 BOAC and BEA (British European Airways) formed today's British Airways.
Founded in 1941 and still operating, PAL (Philippine Air Lines) is the flag carrier of the Philippines until present.
From 1940 to 1942 the Canadian Pacific Railway Company purchased many airlines, finishing with the purchase of Canadian Airways in 1942, to form Canadian Pacific Air Lines. In 1968, Canadian Pacific Air Lines was rebranded as CP Air.
AOA (American Overseas Airlines) operated between the United States and Europe between 1945 and 1950, when the airline was acquired by Pan American Airways.
Aerovias Guest was founded in 1946. Its name was later changed to Guest Aerovias Mexico. Aerovias Guest was taken over by Aeronaves de Mexico in 1963.
Air Atlas (Compagnie Cherifienne de l'Air) was a Moroccan airline based at Casablanca. Air Atlas was formed in 1946, to offer services from Morocco to Algeria and southern France. In 1953 Air Atlas was taken over by Royal Air Maroc.
In 1946 Tata Airlines (operating since 1932) became a public limited company under the name Air-India. In 1948, after the independence of India, 49% of the airline was acquired by the Government of India, in 1953 the Government exercised its option to purchase a majority stake in the carrier and Air India International Limited was born.
Alitalia – Linee Aeree Italiane (Alitalia – Italian Air Lines) was established in 1946. Its popular name, Alitalia, was an Italian portmanteau of the words ali (wings) and Italia (Italy). It started operations in 1947. It went bankrupt in 2008, but the brand was bought and re-branded in 2009 to Alitalia – Compagnia Aerea Italiana (later Alitalia – Società Aerea Italiana).
BEA (British European Airways) was a British airline which existed from 1946 until 1974. In 1974 BOAC and BEA British European Airways) formed today's British Airways. The airline was the largest UK domestic operator. In 1950, BEA operated the world's first turbine-powered commercial air service with Vickers' Viscount 630 prototype, from London to Paris. The "Fly Viscount" poster is twice as large as usual airline posters. It measures 50,5" x 35,5" (app. 128 x 90 cm) – size matters!
Founded in 1946, TAI (Transports Aériens Intercontinentaux) was a private French airline. In 1963, it was merged with UAT (Union Aéromaritime de Transport) to form UTA French Airlines.
Founded in 1951 and still operating, JAL (Japan Airlines / 日本航空株式会社 Nihon Kōkū Kabushiki-gaisha) is the second largest airline in Japan.
SAS (Scandinavian Airlines System, later renamed Scandinavian Airlines) is the flag carrier of Sweden, Norway and Denmark, and the largest airline in Scandinavia. In 1951 the Scandinavian airlines SILA (Svensk Interkontinental Lufttrafik), DNL (Det Norske Luftfartselskap) and DDL (Det Danske Luftfartselskab) were merged to create SAS.
The Compagnie ”Générale de Transports Aériens Air Algérie” was formed in 1953 by a merger between to smaller airlines (CGTA and CAT).
Most of the trans-Mediterranean routes were operated together with Air France. In our times it is the national airline of Algeria and still operating.
In 1953 Kuwait National Airways was formed by a group of Kuwaiti businessmen, in 1955 the name Kuwait Airways was adopted. It is the national airline of Kuwait and still operating.
Royal Air Maroc Compagnie Nationale de Transports Aériens was formed in July 1953 as a result of the merger of Air Atlas and Compagnie Chérifienne de Transports Aériens Air Maroc. The name Royal Air Maroc (RAM) was adopted in 1957, it is the Moroccan national carrier and still operating.
Founded in 1958, Interflug was the national airline of German Democratic Republik (East Germany) since 1963. It was liquidated in 1991, two yeras after German Reunion.
Established in 1962, Air Mauritanie was the national airline of Mauritania until it ceased operations in 2007.
In 1965, Trans-Canada Airlines was renamed Air Canada following government approval. Air Canada is the flag carrier of Canada and still operating. Canada's national airline was founded in 1936 as Trans-Canada Airlines (TCA), which began operating their first transcontinental flight routes in 1938.
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