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100 Years of Commercial Flight

Together with IATA and the aviation community, I am inviting you to celebrate 100 years of commercial flight. Looking back, much has been achieved since the first passenger was carried commercially on an aircraft on January 1, 1914.




Together with IATA and the aviation community, I am inviting you to celebrate 100 years of commercial flight. Looking back, much has been achieved since the first passenger was carried commercially on an aircraft on January 1, 1914.

On that world-changing day, Thomas Benoist’s air boat conducted the first flight, piloted by Tony Jannus. Abram Pheil, then mayor of St. Petersburg, paid $400 at auction for the 23-minute flight.

Of course there is a lot of history with records being set, new and improved technology, aircraft flying faster and further, growing in size, and a carrying larger number of passengers and cargo.

A global force for good

Today the global aviation industry provides unprecedented connectivity and positively impacts — directly and indirectly — people in all corners of the world. Some key statistics include:

  • On average, every day more than 8 million people fly. In 2013 total passenger numbers were 3.1 billion Surpassing the 3 billion mark for the first time ever. That number is expected to grow to 3.3 billion in 2014 (equivalent to 44% of the world’s population).
  • About 50 million tonnes of cargo is transported by air each year (about 140,000 tonnes daily). The annual value of these goods is some $6.4 trillion — or 35% of the value of goods traded internationally.
  • Aviation supports over 57 million jobs and generates $2.2 trillion in economic activity. The industry’s direct economic contribution of around $540 billion would, if translated into the GDP ranking of countries, place the industry in 19th position.
  • Global airline industry turnover is expected to be $743 billion in 2014, with an average industry profit margin of 2.6%.

“Over the last century, commercial aviation has transformed the world in ways unimaginable in 1914. The first flight provided a short-cut across Tampa Bay. Today the aviation industry re-unites loved ones, connects cultures, expands minds, opens markets, and fosters development. Aviation provides people around the globe with the freedom to make connections that can change their lives and the world,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

My first flight

My first experience of flight was recorded on December 24, 1987 when I traveled as a passenger from Timehri (SYCJ) to Mabaruma (SYMB) via Bemichi (SYBE) and returned on the same day. I was newly employed by the then Guyana Airways Corporation and was laying in wait for that opportunity when it opened up 3 months into my tenure. The aircraft was a Twin Otter (DHC6) and piloted by Captain Lloyd Marshall.

As part of the celebration, I’m inviting you to share your own first flight or any other interesting flight experiences.

100th-invite


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About Wayne Farley

Wayne Farley

I am Wayne, an aviation safety evangelist who once made my living working in the control tower. Engage me while I share my thoughts, experience, and news from the aviation world. After writing "13 Characteristics of an air traffic controller" in 2010, it went viral and established me as an unofficial ambassador for ATC.

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