October 2, 2022
Today in Aviation: Lufthansa Forerunner Deutsche Luft Reederei Maiden Flight
Today in Aviation

Today in Aviation: Lufthansa Forerunner Deutsche Luft Reederei Maiden Flight

Today in Aviation, German airline Deutsche Luft-Reederei (DLR) operated its inaugural flight, a 250 km route between Berlin and Weimar, in 1919. 

This was a cargo-only flight carrying newspapers and mail between the two German cities. A converted AEG J II biplane operated the first service. The converted variant, known as the AEG K (K for Kabine or cabin) had accommodation for two passengers. 

Deutsche Luft-Reederei was established on December 17, 1917. It became one of the founding members of the International Air Traffic Association, the organization that would later become the International Air Transport Association (IATA). 

A poster from 1920 advertising DLR and showing the stylized crane in-flight logo. (Photo: Hans Rudi Erdt, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Passenger Flights

Passenger service began in March 1919. DLR launched a service to Hamburg on March 1, 1919, and Warnemünde on April 15. By the end of its first year of operations, DLR had carried 2,921 passengers and 93,150 kg of mail.

Operations ceased on February 6, 1923, and the airline was renamed Deutscher Aero-Lloyd. In 1926, Deutscher Aero-Lloyd was merged with the country’s other largest air carrier, Junkers Luftverkehr, by the German government. This created the nation’s new flag-carrier, Deutsche Luft Hansa, which became today’s Lufthansa (LH). 

Lufthansa’s crane logo through the years. (Photo: Lufthansa Group)

Lufthansa’s stylized crane in-flight logo can be traced back to DLR. Designed by German architect and artist Otto Firle, the iconic look was adopted by Deutsche Luft Hansa in 1926 and carried over to LH in 1954.

The flying crane remains the main feature of LH’sLH’s livery today and is one of the oldest airline logos in the world. 

Featured image: Mail and newspapers are offloaded in Weimar following the maiden flight. (Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-T0126-510 / UnknownUnknown / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons)

Writer, aviation fanatic, and Airways European Deputy Editor, Lee is a plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK-based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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