100 years of KLM - Royal Dutch Airlines - anniversary

Airline-Check KLM (Part 1): 100 years of KLM and not even a bit old. Congratulations!

Esther Nestle
08.10.2019
1 picture
3 minutes

KLM is the grandma of all airlines. None of the airlines that still exist today is older than the venerable Royal Dutch Airlines (Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij, or KLM for short), founded on 7th October 1919. Exactly 100 years of KLM later, it pushes its way to the top of all airlines on the explosive issue of sustainability: what is behind it?

New series `Airline-Check´

In our series `Airline-Check´ WingMag looks over the shoulder of selected airlines, behind their jets, propellers and on their plates. We don’t just want to feed you with the usual information, which you can find with one or two clicks on the any portal anyway. We also don’t necessarily intend to deliver a complete history , detailed fleet description or anything similar. Rather, we are on the lookout for something special, and would also like to pass on some helpful passenger experiences to you.

We will start with the airline with the crown in its logo, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

KLM at the head of a kind of “Airlines for Future” movement

There is hardly any industry that is not affected by the topic of sustainability in its communication. So are the airlines, most of them in a similar way: Modern aircraft, comfortable seats, great service, and then the whole thing spiced up for customer communication with a nice little pinch of sustainability and climate protection to better please the customer.

Not so KLM. KLM doesn’t stop at small measures, but instead gives climate protection a key role in ts communication and declares it to the world. How much of this is tactical calculation? Quite ingenious to be at the forefront of an “Airlines for Future” movement – and this is anything but damaging to business. And they could not have picked a better time for this than the prestigious 100th anniversary of KLM. All that’s missing is a sit-down strike with banners in front of the Airbus and Boeing headquarters …

Double KLM campaign for the climate: Fly Responsibility and Flying V

Behind Flying V lies a radically new aircraft design without a central fuselage, a large V, with the long-term goal of emission-free flights. Together with the Technical University of Delft, KLM is “tinkering” with the implementation and plans to send a high-profile “little V” into the air on the occasion of the big birthday event in October.

Right in the middle of the climate protection debate, a sensational KLM advertising campaign called “Fly Responsibility” was launched at the beginning of July. In the debate about lower CO2 emissions, the company is positioning itself as a pioneer in emission reduction and climate protection – and is thus putting its airline competitors under pressure.

It all started with an open letter that appeared in many major international newspapers on 29th June, in which KLM swears by all those involved – air travellers and airlines – that they are working together to protect the climate.

100 years of KLM – two things are particularly noteworthy

The accompanying KLM Fly Responsibility website is worth the click. The site presents the topic of sustainability in three categories:

By the way:

The ideas presented there correspond wonderfully with a recent WingMag article in which the WingMag author drew similar conclusions for herself as KLM did for her customers.

KLM has recognized the signs of the times. Of course, it is also based on tough business calculations. But the efforts for the environment nevertheless seem to be much more than just a PR gag.

by Esther Nestle

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