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It was founded on November 16, 1909, with government assistance, and operated airships manufactured by The Zeppelin Corporation. The first fixed wing scheduled air service was started on January 1, 1914, from St. The earliest fixed wing airline in Europe was the Aircraft Transport and Travel, formed by George Holt Thomas in 1916.

Using a fleet of former military Airco DH.4A biplanes that had been modified to carry two passengers in the fuselage, it operated relief flights between Folkestone and Ghent.

Another early French airline was the Compagnie des Messageries Aériennes, established in 1919 by Louis-Charles Breguet, offering a mail and freight service between Le Bourget Airport, Paris and Lesquin Airport, Lille. It operated joint-venture airlines in Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland.

The first German airline to use heavier than air aircraft was Deutsche Luft-Reederei established in 1917 which started operating in February 1919. Its first flight was from Croydon Airport, London to Amsterdam, using a leased Aircraft Transport and Travel DH-16, and carrying two British journalists and a number of newspapers. In Finland, the charter establishing Aero O/Y (now Finnair) was signed in the city of Helsinki on September 12, 1923.

In the Soviet Union, the Chief Administration of the Civil Air Fleet was established in 1921.

The relatively basic navigational capabilities of pilots at the time also meant that delays due to the weather were commonplace.On 15 July 1919, the company flew a proving flight across the English Channel, despite a lack of support from the British government. H Shaw in an Airco DH.9 between RAF Hendon and Paris – Le Bourget Airport, the flight took 2 hours and 30 minutes at £21 per passenger.On 25 August 1919, the company used DH.16s to pioneer a regular service from Hounslow Heath Aerodrome to Le Bourget, the first regular international service in the world.This later merged with four other French airlines to become Air France, the country's flagship carrier to this day, on 7 October 1933.Germany's Deutsche Luft Hansa was created in 1926 by merger of two airlines, one of them Junkers Luftverkehr.

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