KLM’s first transatlantic flight – Airlines Magazine

Dallas – Today in aviation, the KLM (KL) DC-4 departed from Amsterdam for New York in 1946. It was the first European airline to fly across the Atlantic.

KLM’s North Atlantic network remains one of the main ports between the two continents. According to the airline, flights from Amsterdam (AMS) to New York City (JFK) typically fly 17 times a week, with an average of two flights a day.

Two posters promoting New York. Left: 1950s. Right: 1948† Photo: KLM

The story of Amsterdam-New York Road


Albert Plessman, KL’s first president, had long dreamed of starting the scheduled service between Amsterdam and New York. In short, American airlines have established a degree of protectionism, and they had no intention of accepting an outsider like KL with open arms.

Finally, with the help of a serious diplomatic talent, the Netherlands and the United States were able to negotiate a bilateral agreement on civil aviation that allowed Kuala Lumpur to fly the Amsterdam-New York route.

KLM started a series of test flights in January 1946, and in May of the same year, the carrier was ready to fly over the dam. DC-4 ‘de Rotterdam’, a four-engine aircraft with a capacity of 44 passengers, departed from Schiphol with a delegation of officials, journalists, KL employees and a businessman on his way to the Big Apple.

Stopovers in Glasgow and Gander, Newfoundland, were included in the first flights. We also had to arrange a couple of diversion airports so we could land somewhere in bad weather. Although speed was crucial, safety was always our top priority.

Flying over New York. Photo: KLM

road frequency:


21 flight hours are included in the total travel time of 25 half an hour. The service started with two weekly flights. However, the route was so successful that Kuala Lumpur had to add another 33 flights in 1946 alone. Also in that year alone, Kuala Lumpur carried 6,503 passengers on the road.

With the flight on May 21, Kuala Lumpur has expanded its European network to include the United States, the Netherlands and the interior. The road was an instant success. To meet the growing demand, the Dutch airline Constellation released a brand new L-049 on 46 September.

The number of flights increased over the years, and in 1950, Kuala Lumpur flew to New York every day of the week. The runway was a huge success and the airline was proud to add a “real kudos to the hat”.

DC-8, PH-DCG at New York International Airport before changing its name to John F. Kennedy International Airport. Photo: KLM

Capacity, initial fleet


Civil aviation changed slowly but relentlessly in those years. The passengers also evolved. Aircraft became larger, allowing airlines to offer more space. But with the introduction of economy class, and later, economy class flying has become more affordable for a larger number of residents. This new type of airline passenger was first introduced by KL on this North Atlantic route, where the airline also used new airline types.

At that time, Kuala Lumpur regularly began launching new aircraft on these North Atlantic routes. It was the maiden flight of the DC-8, KL’s first jet, to New York, as well as the maiden flight of the Boeing 747-200, the airline’s first wide-body jet. This went hand in hand with increased capacity.

The airline will see the potential to develop the North Atlantic route over and over again and act accordingly, said Fredo Ogier, the company’s communications editor in Kuala Lumpur. point to.

North Atlantic enlargement


Initially, the number of destinations along the route did not increase rapidly. Montreal was added to the list in 1949, and Houston and Anchorage were added as stops on the Pole Track in 1957. Kuala Lumpur bought the landing rights to Chicago, Toronto and Los Angeles in the 1970s.

But according to Auger, it was in the 1980s and 1990s that Kuala Lumpur made the greatest progress. When the Netherlands and the United States signed the Open Skies agreement, it was a major step forward and a crucial first step towards a new cooperation initiative.

For example, the EU gave its approval in 1993, when the US Department of Transportation granted antitrust immunity (to ensure that there was no monopoly on a particular route that could harm travelers or competitors). All this made the close collaboration with Northwest Airlines, KL’s strategic partner at the time, much easier. The rest is, as they say, history.

The legacy of the Amsterdam-New York road


KLM saw the enormous potential in New York Road from the start. Yes, he was a status symbol, Ogier says, but he was also more than that. Schiphol’s growth in the post-war years and the economic importance of cooperation with the United States grew steadily. For example, the Kuala Lumpur office in New York was based on Fifth Avenue.

In 1959, Kuala Lumpur moved to corner 49Yes Street and 5Yes Avenue, making it the largest airline office in New York at the time. “KLM put itself on the map at The Big Apple.”

KLM’s first office in New York is located on Fifth Avenue. Photo: KLM

Featured Image: DC-4 from De Rotterdam flies to New York for the first time. Photo: KLM. Article source: 70 years to New York, KLMKLM’s eyeball

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