Airports, aeroplanes, air-travellers and anything related to commercial flight! That’s what we cover in this section. For a start, here’s a humorous piece of the logos of airlines, followed by a list of all the airlines we could find in the world….
The first forays into flight
One of the first humans to fly, legend tells us, was idealistic Icarus. Instead of obeying his father’s instructions to fly at a moderate height, he soared too near the sun, which melted the wax that held the feathers together on his wings. Poor Icarus plummeted like a stone into the ocean, never to be seen again, leaving us a lesson in moderation, obedience and restraint. Since then men have flapped, jumped, and attempted to glide, but invariably ended up flopping and plunging to the ground instead.
The only people who had some genuine success in getting something substantial to fly were brilliant Chinese kite-makers more than 2300 years ago. Another kite-designer took things a step further. In 1680, Leonardo Da Vinci dreamt up and designed some pretty amazing flying-machines, but although they were truly ingenious, they never left the drawing-board.
Chinese ‘flying-lanterns’ may have inspired other Westerners, for just over a hundred years later in 1783, the French flew in a hot-air balloon. For some strange reason, the ‘fuel’ they burnt was an extremely smelly and smoky combination of straw and wool, and for many would-be aviators and sheep-lovers of that time, it must have been the last straw! It took another hundred years or so before a man actually flew, using a glider in 1891. In 1900, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin of Germany made the first flight in a rigid-frame airship that has come to be known as a zeppelin.
Just three short years later, the Wright brothers had their first successful motorised flight in 1903. Since then a whole new beginning opened up for mankind, and the history of aviation began!
In 1909 Louis Bleriot flew across the Channel in 37 minutes. By 1910, women had joined the flying game, piloting planes with admirable dexterity. To keep their modesty, the Hobble Skirt was invented, weighed down to combat unexpected gusts of wind when they were getting on or off aircraft. In 1927 Charles Lindberg made the first solo non-stop trans-Atlantic flight in his Spirit Of St Louis. The first non-stop trans-Pacific flight only occurred in 1931, and took over 41 hours.
In 1939, a German Heinkel-He178 became the first jet-aircraft in history, opening yet another chapter in man’s ability to fly. This was just one of several milestones in aviation that happened because of the Second World War but that, as they say, is another story! To us, as frequent flyers who travel extensively around the world, aviation can be a gold-mine of humour. In our own quirky and entirely subjective opinion, there are many topics in Aviation that can educate and entertain…read about them here.
As our core business is tourism-related aviation, we have tried to focus solely on scheduled passenger carriers, so you will not find FedEx, UPS, Cargolux and their counterparts in this list. However, some of our sources did not specify the nature of the carriers listed, so there are probably some cargo and charter airlines here as well.
The occasional letters you will find beside the names denote their status. A (d) stands for an airline we believe is defunct or deregistered, while an (m) tells you that the carrier has now been merged into a larger company. An (r ) represents an airline that has been re-branded and is now operating under a new name and with a new corporate identity.
The world is a big place, and there must be numerous local, regional and even international airlines that are not listed here. If you know of any scheduled passenger airlines, however big or small, do send us details that can be verified and we’d be happy to include your submission in this list.
Any unlisted airlines you know of? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org