Contract with the Dutch Postal Service PTT

KLM signed its first contract with the Dutch Postal Services in 1920. In early July of that year the airline transported the first mailbag, weighing 6,5 kilograms.

KLM was not completely satisfied with the terms of the contract, and the returns from the mail flights were initially disappointing.

Nevertheless, KLM continued to transport mail, and cargo gradually became more important after the first flight service to the Dutch East Indies was opened.

The mail flights around Christmas were particularly popular. Initially, the service to the East Indies opened on a trial basis. In 1928 six flights and in 1929 eight flights were completed.

Poster from the Royal Netherlands Indian Airways, the KNILM

In 1930 there was a flight every fortnight and, as of 1 October 1931, there was a weekly flight.


Plesman and Evert van Dijk walking away from the Fokker F.XVIII Pelikaan (Pelican)

Evert van Dijk, the Indian writer Rabindranath and Adriaan Viruly, Calcutta 1932

Fokker F 18



New Fokker F-XVIII

One of the most noteworthy episodes in KLM's history was the battle with Imperial Airways to dominate the far reaches of the Dutch and British colonial empires in the mid-1930s.

The competition began a decade earlier when both companies explored possible routes into Asia. The British were initially stalled in their goals of further expansion because Imperial Airways already had commitments to serve a large number of points across Asia—all of which included passenger, mail, and freight services and its resources were stretched to the limit.

As a result, the airline could not offer the kind of reliable and high quality service that KLM could provide to a few key locations in Asia.

KLM focused all its resources on a few important routes, especially those to the Dutch East Indies.

At October 1, 1931, the airline began regular passenger service between Amsterdam and Batavia (now known as Jakarta in Indonesia) using Fokker F.XII aircraft fitted with four luxury seats. The trip lasted 10 entire days, including 81 hours of flying time. It was the longest regularly scheduled flight offered by any airline in the world.

Besides the Fokker F-Xll, the F-XVIII was introduced in 1932.

The Fokker F-XVIII whittled down the travelling time to nine days.



In this Polygoon movie, we follow all the fases in buiding a brand new Fokker F.VIIb-3M in 1932.

The film ends with beautiful shots over the Netherlands, with a few aircrafts in factory testflights.