Air France-KLM in the US and worldwide
1919 witnessed the maiden flight of Koninklijke Luchtvaartmaatschappij for The Netherlands and Colonies or the KLM as it is popularly known. Years down the lane, in 1933, the civil aviation industry saw the merger of five French airlines, Air Union, Air Orient, Societe Generale de Transport Aerien (SGTA), CIDNA and Aeropostale. Both these pioneering players in civil aviation count among the few existing airlines to have been founded before World War II. As early as 1946, Air France and KLM created their first regular services between Europe and North America by linking New York out of Paris and Amsterdam.
The flight, including stop-overs, lasted nearly 24 hours. In 1989, for the first time in the history of air transport, an alliance was reached between KLM and the US carrier Northwest Airlines to offer their customers convenient access to both their networks. A first "open skies" agreement was reached in 1991 between the Netherlands and the United States, allowing for all KLM and Northwest Airlines flights between Europe and the United States to be operated on a joint-venture basis starting in 1993. Air France took over UTA in 1990. The two airlines merged two years later, making the new group the main shareholder of Air Inter, the airline specializing in domestic flights in France, in which it owned 72% of the capital. Six years later, Air Inter became Air France Europe, before being taken over by Air France in 1997.
Air France's capital was open to private companies early in 1999. Its shares were listed on the Paris Stock Exchange for the first time on 22 February 1999. Air France and KLM in 2003 announced their intended merger via Air France's international public offering (IPO) for KLM shares. The IPO was launched on 5 April 2004 on the Paris Euronext and Amsterdam markets as well as on the New York Stock Exchange. This operation which transferred the majority of Air France's stock to the private sector by dilution of the French States' stake resulted in the French company's privatization.
The Group has more than 100,000 employees as of 2011. The consolidated results released on 31 March 2011 recorded revenue of Euros 23,615 million for the year. The operating income stood at Euros 122 million and a net income of Euros 613 million were shown. 27% of business comes from the US region for the group. A total of 71.3 million passengers fly Air France KLM as of 2011. Jean-Cyril Spinetta is the current Chairman of the Board of Directors of Air France-KLM.
Since inception, the company has been committed to promoting sustainable development from an economic, environmental and social perspective. In September 2005, it was the only air transport group in the world to be included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. The Group has taken many environmentally-friendly initiatives - recycling of used parts, lighter seats, low energy consumption demonstration flight, to name a few examples. The most spectacular was the first flight operated by a KLM Boeing 747 using 50% bio-fuel and 50% jet fuel.