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DELAG2. march 2011 22:21
by Gary Hudson
DELAG was the world's first airline to use an aircraft in scheduled service. It was established November 16th 1909 in Frankfurt by the famous Count Zeppelin and others with the help of the German government.
DELAG, or Deutsche Luftschifffahrts Aktiengesellschaft, used Zeppelin build by the Zeppelin Airships GmbH which was also a large owner in the company.
The initial capital for the company was 3 million German marks. In 1910, they made their revenue flight from Frankfurt to Baden-Baden and Düsseldorf with the LZ 7 Deutschland. The LZ 7 Deutschland was quickly to be replaced with the LZ8 since it was damaged in a bad weather.
The LZ8 didn´t last very long either so the LZ 10 Schwaben took over and in it the first ever stewardess. In 1912 the DELAG flew the first post delivery service by air. In September that same year, DELAG began flying internationally with the LZ-13 Hansa to Copenhagen
Although the company had a few initial problems it still managed to establish a market for traveling and by 1914, before the First World War, the company had transported over 34,000 passengers in over 1500 flights.
During the war the German military used Zeppelins LZ11, LZ13 and LZ17 for its personnel transportation. After the Germans lost the war, DELAG lost a lot of airships to the enemy as compensation. With the LZ 120 "Bodensee" and LZ 121 "Nordstern" the airline reestablished connection between the major cities. Before the WW1, DELAG operated 7 Zeppelin airship, not all of them at the same time however, but after the war, the airline operated 3 bigger ships.
In 1928, DELAG began flying overseas again with the Graf Zeppelin and by 1935 had flown 50 times to the states. This was the last airships that DELAG operated. At that time a new state sponsored airship company called DZR (Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei) was founded that held even bigger airships.
The ´´Hindenburg´´ was among the fleet and until it was destroyed in an accident in 1937 it completed 63 trips. It flew over 330.000km with four motors and a load possibility of 195.000kg and was therefore was the biggest of its kind. The accident on Mai 6th killed 36 of 98 people on board.
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