Dutch airline company KLM inaugurates a biofuel flight on one of its passenger carrying 747’s – a combination of 50% biofuel and 50% jet fuel. The biofuel being used in this KLM flight will be made from camelina, a feedstock that produces 84% fewer emissions than regular jet fuel and has proven to be a low-impact crop, requiring less water and fertilizer and can grow in areas where food crops won’t be displaced. KLM makes airline history.

CRUISING THE FUTURE: On Nov. 23, Dutch airline KLM completed its first Boeing 747 test flight using bio-fuel with passengers on board. The demonstration flight was carried out at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam powered by biokerosene, an equal mix of sustainable bio-fuels and traditional kerosene. As the airline industry moves toward reducing carbon dioxide emissions, the demonstration flight marks the first ever flight in Europe on biokerosene, a fuel KLM has been exploring since 2007.

1936 – Successor DC-2 the DC-3 – KLM led the field in Europe, scoring another first with the successor to the DC-2, the DC-3.

The same day, the airline announced a partnership with North Sea Petroleum and Spring Associates to form the SkyEnergy consortium to lead sustainability in aviation.

KLM – One of the first carriers to offer Jet service Trans-Atlantic.

“The Netherlands should make good use of this leading position to ensure clean, silent and sustainable air transport worldwide,” said KLM Royal Dutch Airlines President & CEO Peter Hartman. “This is technically feasible. We have demonstrated that it is possible. Government, industry and society at large must now join forces to ensure that we quickly gain access to a continuous supply of biofuel.”

An excellent YOUTUBE video look at KLM’s history.

The SkyEnergy venture will receive environmental advice from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). KLM’s president emphasized the importance of preserving forest and water resources and biodiversity.

1926 – A heated cabin – KLM early innovations – KLM regularly added new destinations to its network. The more northerly cities were not forgotten. Services to Malmo were started in 1926. A heated cabin helped to make the journey more comfortable.

HISTORY OF KLM – KLM was founded on 7 October 1919, making it the oldest air carrier in the world still operating under its original name, though the company stopped operating during the Second World War – apart from the operations in the Dutch Antilles in the Caribbean.

The first KLM flight was on 17 May 1920, from Croydon Airport, London to Amsterdam carrying two British journalists and a number of newspapers.

It was flown by an Aircraft Transport and Travel Airco DH.16, callsign G-EALU, piloted by Jerry Shaw. In 1920 KLM carried 440 passengers and 22 tons of freight. In 1921 KLM started scheduled services.

By 1926 it was offering flights to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Brussels, Paris, London, Bremen, Copenhagen, and Malmo; using primarily Fokker F2 & Fokker F.III. KLM was also the first airline to fly to Manchester Airport, using a DC-2 via Doncaster.

Intercontinental service to the Netherlands East Indies (today’s Republic of Indonesia) started in 1929. This was for several years the world’s longest scheduled route. The service used Fokker F.VIIb, although the first non-scheduled KLM flight had been in 1924 by Fokker F7 registration H-NACC piloted by Van der Hoop. In 1930 KLM carried 15,143 passengers.

The first transatlantic KLM route was between Amsterdam and Curaçao in December 1934 using the Fokker F-XVIII “Snip.” In the 1940s the KLM was the only civilian airline operating the Douglas DC-5.

On 21 May 1946, KLM was the first continental European airline to launch scheduled service to New York. In 1950 KLM carried 356,069 passengers.

On 25 July 1957, the airline introduced its first flight simulator for the Douglas DC-7C – the last KLM aircraft with piston engines – which opened the first trans-polar route from Amsterdam via Anchorage to Tokyo on 1 November 1958.

Each crew flying the transpolar route over the Arctic was equipped with a winter survival kit, including a 7.62 mm selective-fire AR-10 carbine for use against polar bears in the event the plane was forced down onto the polar ice.

1946 – Inaugural flight New York – Captain Evert van Dijk took a Douglas DC-4, the PH-TAR ‘Rotterdam’, on KLM’s inaugural flight to New York, May 31st, 1946. KLM was the first continental European airline to start scheduled flights to the American metropolis after the war.

In March 1960, KLM introduced the first Douglas DC-8 jet into its fleet. In 1966, KLM introduced the Douglas DC-9 on European and Middle East routes.

The new terminal buildings at Schiphol Airport opened in April 1967 and in 1968, the Douglas DC-8-63 entered service. With 244 seats it was the largest airliner of the time. KLM was the first airline to put the higher gross-weight Boeing 747-200B into service in February 1971 with Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines, beginning the era of widebody jets.

Just prior to WW 2, KLM had “Holland” painted on their DC2 and DC3 aircraft so they would not be mistaken for military planes.

In 1980, KLM carried 9,715,069 passengers. In 1983, it reached agreement with Boeing to convert some of its Boeing 747-200s to stretched upper deck configuration. The work started in 1984 at the Boeing factory in Everett, Washington and finished in 1986.

The converted aircraft were called Boeing 747-200SUD, which the airline operated in addition to Boeing 747-300s. In June 1989, KLM introduced the Boeing 747-400. Later that year, in July, KLM acquired 20 per cent of Northwest Airlines, starting an alliance between the two airlines. In 1990, KLM carried 16,000,000 passengers. In March 1994, KLM and Northwest Airlines introduced World Business Class on intercontinental routes, and in July 1995, KLM introduced its Boeing 767-300ER.

(Left: KLM Stewardesses, from the jet age to the 1930s) In March and June 2002, KLM announced it would renew its intercontinental fleets by replacing the Boeing 767s, Boeing 747-400s, and eventually the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 with Boeing 777-200ERs and Airbus A330-200s. Some 747s will be first to retire.

The MD-11s will remain in service until 2014/2015. The first Boeing 777 was received on 25 October 2003, entering commercial service on the Amsterdam-Toronto route, while the first Airbus A330-200 was introduced on 25 August 2005 and entered commercial service on the Amsterdam-Washington Dulles route.  In March 2007 KLM started using the Amadeus reservation system, along with partner Kenya Airways.

On 30 September 2003, Air France and KLM announced that they would in future be known as Air France-KLM. This entity was offered on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange on 5 May 2004. The takeover by Air France marked the end of the oldest independent airline in the world.

The Royal adjective will remain. Its independent identity is guaranteed to 2008, but its operations may be merged with those of the French company.


Sep 12, 1919

Queen Wilhelmina awarded KLM – yet to be founded – its “Royal” designation.

Oct 7, 1919

Dutch Royal Airlines for the Netherlands and its Colonies (Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij voor Nederland en Koloniën – KLM) was founded.

Oct 21, 1919

The first KLM office opened on Heerengracht in The Hague.

May 17, 1920

KLM’s first pilot, Jerry Shaw, flew from London to Schiphol in a leased De Havilland DH-16.

Apr 4, 1921

Following a winter hiatus, KLM resumed service with its own pilots and aircraft: the Fokker F-II and F-III.

May 9, 1921

KLM opened its first passenger office on Leidseplein in Amsterdam.

Oct 1, 1924

KLM initiated its first intercontinental flight, from Amsterdam to Batavia (Colonial Jakarta) in a Fokker F-VII.

Sep, 1929

KLM started regular, scheduled service between Amsterdam to Batavia. Until the outbreak of the Second World War, this was the world’s longest-distance scheduled service.

Dec 1933

KLM flew Christmas and New Year’s cards from Amsterdam to Batavia in a record time of just over four days in a Fokker F-XVIII Pelikaan. The mail arrived in time for Christmas.

Oct 1934

The Douglas DC-2 Uiver won a “handicap” race – a flight with passengers and cargo – from London to Melbourne.

Dec 1934

KLM made its first transatlantic flight, from Amsterdam to Curacao in a Fokker F-XVIII Snip.

Sep 1945

KLM resumed service following the Second World War, starting with domestic flights.

May 21, 1946

KLM initiated scheduled service between Amsterdam and New York using the Douglas DC-4 Rotterdam.

Nov 1, 1958

KLM opened its Amsterdam-Tokyo service, flying over the North Pole using the Douglas DC-7 Caraïbische Zee.

Mar 1960

The Jet Age began with the introduction of the Douglas DC-8.

Sep 12, 1966

NLM (“Netherlands Airlines”) was founded. This was later renamed NLM Cityhopper.

Apr 1967

Schiphol Center went into service.

Feb 1971

The Wide-body Age began with the advent of the Boeing 747-206B.

Mar 1, 1971

KLM opened its headquarters in Amstelveen, south of Amsterdam.

Nov 1975

KLM added the Boeing 747-306B Combi to its fleet, an important milestone for KLM cargo transport.

Mar 1988

KLM took over NetherLines European Commuter service.

Jun 1989

KLM introduced the Boeing 747-400, the most advanced 747 of its time.

Jul 1989

KLM acquired a 20% interest in the US carrier Northwest Airlines, an important step toward the creation of a worldwide network.

Apr 1, 1991

KLM merged NLM Cityhopper and NetherLines to create KLM cityhopper.

Oct 1991

KLM increased its interest in charter carrier Transavia from 40% to 80%.

Dec 1991

KLM introduced Flying Dutchman, making it the first airline on the European continent to create a frequent flyer loyalty program.

Jan 1993

The US Department of Transportation granted KLM and Northwest Airlines antitrust immunity, allowing the two airlines to intensify their partnership.

Sep 1993

KLM and Northwest Airlines started operating all their flights between the US and Europe as part of a joint venture.

Nov 1993

For the first time in its history, KLM transported more than ten million passengers in a single year.

Mar 1994

KLM and Northwest Airlines introduce World Business Class, a new product on intercontinental flights.

Jul 1995

KLM introduced Boeing 767-300ER to service.

Jan 1996

KLM acquires 26% share in Kenya Airways.

Jan 1998

KLM and Malaysian Airlines System announce investigation into commercial cooperation.

Feb 1998

KLM-Northwest Airlines alliance honored with ‘Airline of the Year Award’ by influential US trade magazine Air Transport World.

Aug 1998

KLM repurchases all regular shares from the Dutch state. The state retains cumulative preference shares A and priority shares with a franchise in excess of 14%.

Nov 1, 1999

KLM founded AirCares, a communication and fundraising platform supporting worthy causes and focusing on underprivileged children around the world.

Dec 1999

KLM was the world’s first airline to attain ISO 14001 certification for its Environmental Management System.

Spring 2002

KLM announced the first phase of a fleet renewal program for its intercontinental aircraft – three Boeing 747-400ER freighters and eight Boeing 777-200ERs to replace the Boeing 747-300s; two more Boeing 777-200ERs to replace two MD-11s. KLM placed an order with Airbus for six A330-200s. Upon completion of the program, KLM’s fleet consisted solely of Boeing 747-400s, Boeing 777-200ERs, and Airbus A330-200s.

Oct 25, 2003

KLM’s first Boeing 777-200R landed at Schiphol. The aircraft provides service to Cape Town, Nairobi, and New York.

May 5, 2004

The AIR FRANCE KLM Group was born. On this day Air France redeemed the conditions of its share bid, allowing for the merger between Air France and KLM. Seven months earlier, in September 2003, the airlines had decided to join forces.

Sep 2004

KLM, Northwest, and Continental join SkyTeam, an international alliance of airlines, of which Air France, Delta Air Lines, Alitalia, Korean Air, ?SA Czech Airlines, and Aeromexico were already members.

Jun 2005

AIR FRANCE KLM introduced its new, combined, frequent flyer program, “Flying Blue.” It was the first time in history that two European airlines had joined their loyalty programs – exclusive service packages targeting loyal customers.

Aug 25, 2005

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus delivered the first of KLM’s A330s.

Dec 2006

KLM was the world’s first airline to introduce self-service transfer kiosks at which transfer passengers at Schiphol can print out their own boarding passes, quickly and easily.

Jun 2007

KLM introduced a unique partnership with the Worldwide Fund for Nature. The agreement includes hard and fast limitations to CO2 emissions and the corporate expression that, even in the airline industry, there are different and better ways of doing business. KLM views this cooperative effort as a crowning achievement to the steps it had already taken in corporate sustainability – efforts that have earned it the title of “best in class” in terms of energy efficient flight among all the major international airlines.

Mar 30, 2008

The Open Skies treaty went into effect, allowing airlines to fly freely – for the first time – between Europe and the US. KLM had long been a proponent of this treaty.

May 23, 2008

The US Department of Transportation granted antitrust immunity to KLM, Air France, Delta Air Lines, and Northwest Airlines. This will allow these airlines to make better use of the Open Skies treaty, streamlining their activities and better attuning them to customer demand.

Dec. 31, 2008

KLM becomes 100% owner of Martinair.

Jan. 12, 2009

Air France-KLM takes 25% minority stake in Alitalia .

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