KLM Royal Dutch airlines 70 years history Between Japan and Amsterdam

Japan 70th Anniversary

On December 7, 2021, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines celebrates 70 years of service in Japan.

KLM, the world's oldest airline, celebrated its 102nd anniversary on October 7th this year. 

As a bridge between Japan and the Netherlands, KLM has been flying for 70 years. 

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all of you who have supported KLM.

December 7th, 1951

December 7th, 1951

The inaugural flight from Amsterdam arrived at Tokyo Haneda airport at 04:00p.m. A Lockheed L-749-A with 44 seats flew the Southern route via Frankfurt, Damascus, Bagdad, Karachi, Bangkok and Manila. This was the beginning of service to Japan with one weekly flight. Travel time was 64 hours.

December 7th, 1951


Established branch offices in Tokyo in Yaesu and Osaka. First European carrier to employ Japanese cabin crew

December 7th, 1951

November 1st, 1958

Started two weekly service between Amsterdam and Tokyo via Anchorage by Douglas DC-7C. Travel time shortened to 30 hours 35 minutes.

December 7th, 1951


KLM was the first European airline to launch the Douglas DC-8, a large jet aircraft that replaced the Douglas DC-7, that had previously served Japan. In the blink of an eye, the world entered the age of jet aircraft. With Douglas DC-8, travel time shortened to 16 hours and 30 minutes.

JP 1962-1969

Between 1962 and 1969 We increased from two Southern route flights and two Polar route flights, to two Southern route flights and three Polar route flights. The pictures of the stickers were handed out to passengers to commemorate the equator crossing around the south and the Arctic Circle crossing around the north, respectively.

Japan 1971


Introduced Boeing 747B for first time in the world. Travel time on Southern route shortened to 23 hours 45minutes. In the 1970s, with the arrival of the jumbo with its overwhelming capacity, the era of mass transportation dawned.

December 7th, 1951


KLM was the first airline in the world to introduce the Douglas DC10-30, a wide-body aircraft for long-haul flights, and in 1973, KLM introduced the Tokyo route to the north.

December 7th, 1951

1972 October 1st

The great and famous TV show "All Star Family Singing Contest" started on Fuji TV and lasted until 1986. The prize for the winning family was a trip to Bangkok with KLM. At the end of the program, a video of KLM's airplane was shown, and it was a great opportunity for KLM to be known by many people who remember "KLM" when they hear "All Star Family Singing Contest".

December 7th, 1951

1978 May

Tokyo Narita international airport opened as main international airport in Japan KLM also moved to Narita from Haneda airport. (Photo provided by Narita international Airport Corporation)


1982 Japanese inflight magazine “Windmill” was launched. The name was later changed to “Euro Sky” and continued until 2016. 1986 All four weekly flights became Polar service, banned Southern route. 1987 Non-stop flight between Tokyo and Amsterdam was inaugurated once a week.

December 7th, 1951


Introduced Boeing 747-400 known as ”Queen of the Skies”or ”Jumbo jet“. Operated between Amsterdam and Narita until September 3rd, 2016.

December 7th, 1951

1994 September 7th

With the opening of Kansai International Airport, we started our long awaited flight to Osaka

December 7th, 1951

1997 October 29th

Started Amsterdam – Sapporo - Nagoya route with two flights per week by Boeing 747-400. In 2000, increased frequency to four flights per week by MD11 and lasted until 2002.

December 7th, 1951

2004 May 5th Merged with AirFrance. 2005 Opened AirFrance-KLM office in Osaka. 2006 Opened AirFrance-KLM office in Tokyo.

December 7th, 1951

2013 April 4th

Started Amsterdam – Fukuoka route by Boeing 777-200ER as first direct flight between Europe and Kyushu. Lasted until 2016 January 4th.

December 7th, 1951

2016 September 3rd.

On the last flight of the Boeing 747-400 from Narita Airport, the flight engineer who flew on the first Amsterdam-Narita nonstop flight from Japan 29 years ago was given a memorable assignment as captain of the aircraft. It was B747-400 combi, the rear part of the first floor was designed as a cargo. It took off from Narita Airport, waved their wings in farewell to Japan, and flew away.

Japan 2019

2019 October 7th

KLM as the first airline in the world to celebrate its 100th anniversary without changing its name since its founding. Under the banner ‘Fly Responsibly’, KLM invited airlines, partners, customers and employees alike, to share in KLM’s existing sustainability practices and tools, and provide KLM with their respective insights in return. This is KLM’s commitment to share responsibility for a sustainable tomorrow.