KLM celebrating a centenary in the aviation business

KLM celebrating a centenary in the aviation business

In the 50 years that KLM has flown to East Africa, the airline has become a major player in regional aviation, backed by a strong global network, connecting East Africa to the rest of the world.

Africa’s aviation industry is critical to growing of the continent’s economic and social fortunes. Increased air connectivity is crucial to unlocking the continent’s vast untapped wealth and potential.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is one of the airlines that continue to make a positive impact in Africa and beyond.

It has been flying for a century now, and half of that time, it has been flying to East Africa.

KLM was founded in 1919 as Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij, meaning: ‘Royal Aviation Company Inc.’ also known as the Royal Carrier of the Dutch Kingdom.

A century is quite a long time in the aviation business. KLM’s long journey is a true testimony ofits resilience and entrepreneurial spirit as an airline.

It also symbolises the strong support its stakeholders have accorded it over the years and its continuous efforts to invest in the local communities.

This month, KLM celebrates 100 years of KLM globally. The airline also celebrates its 50th anniversary of flying to Kenya & Tanzania in May. This double milestone is just a beginning of the next phase of KLM’s journey.

In the 50 years that KLM has flown to East Africa, the airline has become a major player in regional aviation, backed by a strong global network, connecting East Africa to the rest of the world.

The Nairobi-Amsterdam route has continuously posted impressive growth. To further strengthen its presence in the region, and appreciating the market’s strong confidence, the airline, is looking forward to exciting times ahead, remains optimistic and confident.

The story just got more exciting! In July, Tanzania became the first country in Africa to welcome the newest addition to its fleet - the Boeing 787-10.

Before the end of the year, Kenya will become the second country in Africa to welcome the aircraft.

 KLM is the first European carrier to fly this sustainable aircraft type which carries the name ‘Oranjebloesem’ (Orange blossom)

East Africa is special to the airline. It is a strategic hub in Africa. As such, KLM looks forward to the next 50, 100, 150 years flying to this exciting destination, famous the world over for its scenic beauty, unique culture, welcoming people and long history as the Cradle of Mankind.

About the brand

We focus on innovation, next generation, sustainability, celebration and customer experience.

  • KLM looks back with pride, but above all that, we are ready for the years to come. We embrace the next century with full confidence. KLM is looking ahead to the next 100 years and beyond, standing on the foundation built over a century of being aviation pioneers and entrepreneurs.


  • On innovation at KLM
    • Innovation is at the heart of our business. At KLM, we have adopted a step-change approach to innovation where we pursue both incremental improvements to our operations and radical innovation to create opportunities for growth. Customer-centric innovation is very important for us as an airline. We are therefore accelerating the digital transformation of our business while developing new products that give our customers memorable experiences.   
  • On sustainability at KLM
    • Sustainability is a key strategic area for KLM. The airline is committed to deliver value over the long term to all our stakeholders without compromising the interests of future generations or damaging the planet.
    • Sustainability is a part of KLM’s DNA; we live by that mantra in everything we do. Our approach to sustainability covers three domains - operations, employees and customers.
    • The acquisition of the new 787-10 aircraft is instrumental in KLM’s sustainability quest to reduce our carbon footprint by 20% given the reduced noise levels and higher fuel efficiency. 
    • KLM has always been committed to driving a sustainable future for aviation. We have a proven track record and are continuously investing and innovating to make our products and processes more sustainable.
  • On customer experience
  • From a customer perspective, KLM is continuously investing in new products that meet the demands of the increasingly sophisticated customer. Last year, we completed installing flat seats on some of our aircraft to improve comfort and transform the flying experience for our customers. We also introduced exciting new features like meal formats that allow customers to have meals at their convenience.