2019 is a major year for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines as the brand celebrates a century as one of the leading brands in the international aviation industry. Founded on 7 October 1919 in The Hague, the Netherlands, KLM is the world’s oldest operating airline still flying under its original name. 

Since its foundation, the KLM brand has been synonymous with its game-changing approach to innovation, sustainability, diversity, the environment, comfort and customer service making it an industry leader in the global aviation field. Their hands-on approach has helped them solidify the brand as one of trust, quality and efficiency. 

29 June 2019 marked the kick off counting down 100 days until KLM celebrates their 100th birthday. The brand’s upcoming centenary is certainly a cause for celebration. Looking back, the brand has grown from taking just 345 passengers and 25,000 kilograms of mail and cargo during the first year of its first scheduled flight between Amsterdam and London in 1920, to more than 400 passengers and 20,000 kilos of mail and cargo on a single Boeing 747 flight today.

KLM’s journey into South Africa started 81 years ago when KLM first took off from Schiphol Airport for Johannesburg in 1938. The journey took a staggering three days to complete. Today, however, KLM remains one of the most efficient ways to fly from South Africa into Europe and beyond. KLM now has a daily flight from Amsterdam to Johannesburg and Cape Town operated with a Boeing 777 aircraft. 

“Over the past 100 years, KLM has earned a superb reputation in international air transport. We have always embodied the typical Dutch pioneering and enterprising spirit, which remains an integral part of our brand. I look back on the past 100 years with pride, but also look forward with confidence to the challenges we face on the road ahead,”​ Pieter Elbers, President and CEO of KLM says.

“Last year KLM celebrated 80 years of service to South Africa and in 2019 we celebrate the 100th birthday of KLM worldwide. I am extremely proud to be part of the legacy of KLM but also of the pioneering spirit of our company which has seen us expand from a small base in the Netherlands to a worldwide footprint. It is also pleasing that over the years we have been able to increase our presence not only in South Africa, but all over Africa. Today we fly to 11 destinations in Africa direct from Amsterdam and many more through our Joint Venture and codeshare partners,” Wouter Vermeulen, General Manager: Southern African Region at Air France-KLM says. “In the future there will be many challenges and transitions but I am confident that KLM will enjoy another successful 100 years in Aviation. The progress we have made with our digital offer, investment into new more fuel efficient fleet, and our commitment to operate more sustainably gives us a solid base to grow from. I am looking forward to the exciting road ahead.”

KLM is immensely proud of the accomplishments it has achieved over the past 100 years and is now setting its sights on the next 100 years. KLM is excited to continue their innovative approach to aviation to transform the landscape in the century ahead. During this period, KLM is set to build on the loyalty it has established with its customers throughout their existence creating even more memorable moments in the years to come. Here’s to changing the world yet again.

For more information about KLM and flights available, call 0860 247 747, email: esales.za@klm.com, or visit their website at www.klm.co.za. More information about KLM’s centenary is available at www.klm100.com

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