Eerste Indievlucht2260X1440

The first intercontinental KLM flight

Flying from Amsterdam to Batavia

1 October 1924: KLM’s first intercontinental flight takes off from Amsterdam. Destination? Batavia, today’s Jakarta, on a flight with no fewer than 21 stops! 

Watch the journey
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21 stops

Three crew members and some mail bags...

...were the only cargo onboard the Fokker VII that departed from Amsterdam. The aircraft was very modern for its time and one of the first passenger planes with an enclosed cabin. The seats had been removed to accommodate extra fuel tanks, which enabled the Fokker VII to fly for ten hours straight. Today, that would easily take you from Amsterdam to Bangkok, but low-speed air travel at that time didn’t allow for any long-distance flights. The first stop was in Leipzig, Germany, with the flight reaching Batavia after a total of 20 stops.

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Emergency landing

Even after careful planning and preparation, the aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing in Bulgaria on the second day. Cooling fluid had leaked out through a tear in the radiator, causing the engine to overheat. Upon inspection, the engine was found to be irreparably damaged, but there was no money to replace it. A quick fundraising action by Dutch magazine ‘Het Leven’ meant that a new engine could be delivered to Bulgaria. On 2 November 1924, almost a month after its original departure, the Fokker VII continued its course to Batavia.

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Batavia, Dutch East Indies

Mission accomplished

The 16,000 km long flight was supposed to take 22 days, but the aircraft only landed in Batavia on 24 November. It was a minor setback, but KLM had shown that it could fly to destinations across the globe. The next flight to the Dutch East Indies wasn’t until 1927. The first scheduled commercial flight service began in 1930, and by 1940 the flying time had been reduced to six days. The introduction of jet planes after the Second World War made it possible to fly from the Netherlands to Indonesia in just one day.

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