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The world’s longest-running airlines

(CNN) — When we hear that an industry is celebrating its 100th anniversary, images of the industrial..

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(CNN) — When we hear that an industry is celebrating its 100th anniversary, images of the industrial revolution might spring to mind, with its coal-powered steam machines, railways and chimneys.

But this will soon apply to a sector generally associated with cutting-edge technology and the modern world.

October 2019 marked the 100-year anniversary of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands granting the "royal" title to a small, pioneering airline that was due to be founded.

The Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij, more commonly known by its initials KLM, grew to become one of the largest airlines in Europe, as well as one of the most iconic brands in the aviation industry.

A crown features prominently in its livery, but perhaps the crown this airline carries with the most pride is that of being the oldest airline in the world today.

Surprisingly for an industry known for its volatility and financial instability, quite a few airlines from those heroic early years of aviation are still surviving in their original form.

Here are 10 of the oldest airlines in the world still in operation.

1. KLM

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines turned 100 years old in October 2019. CNN Business Traveller celebrates with a visit to KLM's archives

Year of foundation: 1919

First flight: May 1920

Passengers transported in the first year: 440

Passengers transported in 2018: 34.2 million

As a nation that once had the largest merchant fleet in the world, it seems fitting that the Dutch were among the first to set up a national airline that became a strong force to be reckoned with.

The need to connect Amsterdam to what was then known as the Dutch East Indies would certainly have been a powerful motivation to get KLM off the ground in the early days.

Although formally founded in October 1919, the new airline did not really take off until May 1920, when a four-seater De Havilland DH.16 made the inaugural flight to London's now defunct Croydon Airport.

In 1924, KLM launched a service from Amsterdam to Batavia (as Jakarta was then known), the world's longest air route at the time.

In 1946, it became the first European airline to begin scheduled flights to New York, using DC-4 aircraft.

Throughout its nearly hundred years of existence, KLM's commitment to innovation has been constant.

This doesn't just apply to its fleet either. The airline has also proved pioneering with its use of social media, introducing the first social media-driven flight schedule.

2. Avianca

Avianca, the oldest airline in Latin America and the second oldest airline in the world, is celebrating its centenary in 2019

Year of foundation: 1919

First flight: 1919

Passengers transported in 2018: 30.5 million

Founded by German immigrants in Barranquilla, Colombia, in 1919, Avianca was originally named SCADTA and operated Junkers F13 aircraft, some of which were equipped with floats.

As the world moved closer to war In the late 1930s, SCADTA became a source of concern for the US government, who were worried about the security implications of the airline's links to Germany.

Pan American World Airways subsequently acquired a controlling stake in the company.

In 1949, SCADTA merged with fellow Colombian airline SACO (Servicio Aéreo Colombiano) and adopted its current name.

Today, after absorbing several airlines in neighboring countries, Avianca is one of the largest airline groups in Latin America, with a fleet of 173 aircraft and a network of subsidiaries that spans pretty much the whole continent.

3. Qantas

The Qantas logo is known as "The Flying Kangaroo."

Qantas

Year of foundation: 1920

Passengers transported in 2018: 55.3 million

Few people outside of Australia know that Qantas stands for "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services."

As its name indicates, the initial goal of the airline was to service the tropical and sparsely populated lands of Northern Australia.

Its first aircraft was an Avro 504, a pre-World War I biplane that could seat a pilot and one passenger.

Qantas was nationalized by the Australian government after World War II and reprivatized in the '90s.

Its kangaroo livery first appeared in 1944 and accompanied the airline during the airline's expansion throughout the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

Today Qantas remains the de facto flag carrier of Australia as well as the country's largest airline and one of its best known brands globally.

4. Aeroflot

Aeroflot was the largest airline in the world during the Soviet era.

Aeroflot was the largest airline in the world during the Soviet era.

Stanislav Sergeev/Alamy

Year of foundation: 1923

First flight: July 1923

Passengers transported in 2018: 55.7 million

A flight from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod carrying six people (four passengers and two crewmen) on a Junkers F13 marked the start of what would turn out to be the Soviet Union's, and later, the Russian Federation's flag carrier.

Originally called Dobrolet, it was renamed Aeroflot in 1932, when the Soviet government decided to place the whole civilian aviation fleet under one single entity.

After World War II, Aeroflot became the largest airline in the world, as air travel was often the only means of transportation available to bridge the vast expanses of the Soviet Union.

In 1956, the airline introduced the Tupolev Tu-104, considered the first truly successful jet airliner.

During the Cold War years, Aeroflot operated the long range Il-62, which flew all the way to Cuba by way of Murmansk, in the Arctic, and the supersonic Tupolev Tu-144, the Soviet Union's answer to the Concorde.

In much the same fashion as the Soviet Union, Aeroflot was separated in the '90s and divided into a number of regional airlines, with some former Soviet republics beginning their own services.

The core of the airline then came under control of Russia and remains state-owned.

Aeroflot underwent a massive transformation during the first decade of the 21st century in terms of both service and fleet.

Bar its hammer and sickle logo, the Aeroflot of today bears little resemblance to its original conception.

5. Czech Airlines (CSA)

Czech Airlines

Czech Airlines, the national airline of the Czech Republic.

MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images

Year of foundation: 1923

First flight: October 1923

Passengers transported in 2018: 2.9 million

Started as a national airline for the then newly founded country of Czechoslovakia, Czech Airlines' activity was interrupted by World War II and the airline was later reinstated by the post-war Communist government.

In 1957, CSA became the third airline, after BOAC and Aeroflot, to operate jet airliners when it put the Soviet-made Tupolev Tu104A into service.

The airline was also the first to operate a jet-only connection: Prague to Moscow.

During the Cold War years, CSA operated a remarkably large operation that included a fleet of up to 21 long range Ilyushin Il-62 aircraft as well as an extensive route network covering the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Unfortunately it also suffered two unfortunate firsts, becoming the first airline to suffer a mass hijacking, when three of its aircraft were diverted to West Germany by defectors in 1950.

It was also the first airline to lose a captain at the hands of a hijacker, in an incident during the 1970s.

Like many national airlines of the former Eastern Bloc, CSA was renamed, restructured and modernized during the '90s.

The airline is now majority-owned by Czech group Travel Service.

6. Finnair

The Finnish government has a  55.8% holding of Finnair.

The Finnish government has a 55.8% holding of Finnair.

Courtesy Finnair

Year of foundation: 1923

First flight: March 1924

Passengers transported in 2018: 13 million

For those who've ever wondered why Finnair's airline code is "AY", this is derived from the name it used before being rebranded to Finnair in 1953 — "Aero O/Y."

During its first 12 years, the airline operated only seaplanes, a logical choice given the many lakes and water inlets that cover the surface of Finland.

In 1983, it became the first European airline to fly non-stop to Tokyo, with DC-10 aircraft.

Five years later, Finnair was the only European airline with a direct flight between Europe and China.

This helped to position the airline as the shortest gateway between Europe and Asia, largely thanks to Helsinki's location atop the Great Circle route.

7. Delta Air Lines

Delta is the oldest airline still operating in the US.

Delta is the oldest airline still operating in the US.

DANIEL SLIM/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Year of foundation: Read More – Source

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Denmark asylum: Law passed to allow offshore asylum centres

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Denmark has passed legislation allowing it to relocate asylum seekers to third countries outside the European Union while their cases are reviewed.

The project, proposed by the Social Democrat-led government, would seek partner countries to run camps and fund agencies along migration routes.

But the European Commission said it had concerns about the law, and a leading NGO said it was irresponsible.

Denmark has repeatedly tightened its immigration policies in recent years.

This follows a peak of more than 21,000 asylum seekers arriving in Denmark in 2015.

MPs voted for the bill by 70 votes to 24.

“If you apply for asylum in Denmark, you know that you will be sent back to a country outside Europe, and therefore we hope that people will stop seeking asylum in Denmark,” said government spokesman Rasmus Stoklund, quoted by Reuters news agency.

The asylum cases would be reviewed in the third country and the applicant could potentially be given protection in that country.

 

But the European Commission was critical of the law.

“External processing of asylum claims raises fundamental questions about both the access to asylum procedures and effective access to protection,” said spokesman Adalbert Jahnz, quoted by Reuters news agency.

The Danish Refugee Council (DRC), a leading NGO, said in a statement that MPs had “effectively voted in the blind”, as the model they had backed did not yet exist.

“The idea to externalise the responsibility of processing asylum seekers’ claims is both irresponsible and lacking in solidarity. We have repeatedly called on the Danish members of parliament to reject this bill,” it said.

The council added that there was now a risk of countries hosting larger numbers of refugees would also opt out.

Denmark recently signed a migration deal with Rwanda leading to speculation that it intends to open a facility there.

Two weeks ago it became the first European country to revoke residence status for more than 200 Syrian refugees.

Danish authorities say parts of Syria are safe enough to return to but the move has sparked protests from activists and community groups.

Last year the UK considered building an asylum processing centre on Ascension Island, a remote territory in the Atlantic Ocean, but decided not to proceed.

Australia has also caused controversy in recent years with its use of camps for processing asylum seekers in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-57343572

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Russia to pull troops back from near Ukraine

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After weeks of tension over a build-up of Russian troops close to Ukraine’s border, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has ordered a number of units in the area back to their bases.

The EU estimated that more than 100,000 Russian soldiers had amassed near the border as well as in Crimea, which was seized and annexed by Russia in 2014.

Speaking in Crimea, Mr Shoigu said units on exercise would return to base.

The aims of the “snap checks” had been achieved, he added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who earlier challenged Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet him in the conflict zone, welcomed the decision to “de-escalate” tensions at the border.

“The troops have demonstrated their ability to provide a credible defence for the country,” the Russian defence minister said, adding that he had instructed the commanders of units from the 58th and 41st armies as well as several airborne divisions to start returning to their permanent bases on Friday and to complete the operation by 1 May.

President Zelensky raised the troop build-up with European leaders last week. Ukraine’s armed forces chief said Russian military units had been moving into the Rostov, Bryansk and Voronezh regions as well as Crimea, while battalion tactical groups were stationed on the border.

Following Mr Shoigu’s announcement, Nato said that any move towards reversing the escalation would be “important and well overdue”. It added that the Western military alliance remained vigilant.

Nato leaders have called a summit in June when Russia will be high on the agenda.

Although Russia has shrugged off the build-up as training exercises in response to “threatening” actions from Nato, it is also said to be planning to cordon off areas of the Black Sea to foreign shipping. Ukraine fears its ports could be affected.

Russia said all along that these were nothing more than military exercises.

But Moscow knew very well that its troop movements close to Ukraine and in annexed Crimea were making a lot of people very nervous: in Ukraine, Europe and in America.

And that was the point.

Moscow may well have been using the build-up of troops to send a signal to Kyiv, Brussels and, especially, to Washington that Russia is a force to be reckoned with.

US President Joe Biden took notice. Last week, he telephoned President Putin and proposed a summit. True, he also imposed a new round of sanctions over Russia’s “malign activity”. But inside Russia these were perceived as not particularly tough.

A reduction in tension, however, does not mean the end of tension. Russia’s defence minister has made it clear that “Russia is taking measures in response to threats from Nato”.

For example, Moscow is planning to block areas of the Black Sea to foreign shipping for six months.

In a state-of-the-nation address on Wednesday, President Putin warned the West against “crossing a red line”.

Speaking to reporters after the order for troops to return to base, Mr Putin said as far as bilateral relations were concerned “we are ready to welcome the president of Ukraine at any time that is convenient for him”, but in Moscow.

However, he stressed if Mr Zelensky wanted to discuss eastern Ukraine, then he should first meet the leaders there.

Conflict in eastern Ukraine broke out in 2014, after the seizure of Crimea from Ukraine. Russian-backed troops captured large areas of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions and declared them both peoples’ republics.

There have been a number of breaches of a ceasefire in the east in recent weeks. A Ukrainian soldier was fatally wounded in shelling on Thursday, in what Ukrainian forces said was a deliberate violation of the ceasefire. Some 14,000 people have died since the conflict began.

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European Parliament meeting assess migrant workers conditions in Gulf region

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By Lailuma Sadid

Qatar is the first county that brings changes into it’s landmark reforms in the Gulf.

The first country in the gulf region is Qatar who introduces a non-discriminatory minimum wage, which is part of a series of landmark reforms to the country’s labour laws. Success in the GCC countries depend on having solid labour laws that are linked to international standards and convections and the implementation of these laws. If the law isn’t good enough then the implementation will be a non-starter.  Mr Houtan addedd.

He said that the collaboration of some international and national organisations brought up really solid laws. They are not being perfectly implemented at once since all revolutionary changes in the labour market takes time and if they happen overnight, it’s not sustainable he added.

In the mean time he also mentions how these labor laws benefit both employers and employees.

Indeed, these laws allow employers to find more local workers with the same skills at a lower cost and employees to be more satisfied because they benefit from a greater power to negotiate and discuss. It’s a win- win situation. The wage issue is a common issue acrosse the GCC region , he said.

According to Mr. Houtan  access to Justice variesfrom  country to country. It is very common to hear that an employee who has worked for the past six months is only paid for the last three months of his work and according to some this is fair and justice has been done. This is no rocket science, this is not justice.

He said: No worker should go a day without being paid or receive their salary a day late. This matter is serious and needs to be more focused on. To overcome this problem, we have the structures in place in the regions that are working, although they need to be improved. They work because everyone comes together, with the support of the European  Unions, trade union and employers etc.

According to Mr. Houtan, That’s is success model that we need to replicate across the GCC countries. In addition, it is obvious that we should not denigrate the importance of Labour inspection and occupational safety and health. It has to be considered as a priority.

Also, another very important point is engaging with the private sector which is key, the role is fundamentally important.

Of course the trade unions as well as the government, the ministry of Labour have been really keen pushing forward the agenda but if the employers don’t play ball again it will be a very slow progress.

The key word for him is coordination and cooperation between different organizations to achieve successful changes in the GCC countries.

Hassan AL-Thawadi is representing of Qatar Ambassador in this meeting, he said:Qatar’s commitment to improving labour related matters and improving lives is constant. The commitment is intrinsic to our national values.

The commitment is intrinsic to our national values enshrined in our constitution and ais the key tenants to our Islamic principles. He added

Mr. Hassan said, these reforms combined with bolstered enforcement mechanisms including electronic based wage protection system demonstrates a commitment to sustainable long-term change that I mentioned previously however we acknowledge that there is a long journey ahead of us and more needs to be done as of the case in every nation of the world. In some countries still not possible to change employers without permission in other countries, but in Qatar it is possible.

Mark from European Delegation, with the contribution for workers to the numbers is only 500,000 workers 50 years ago and 25 million demanded today for the whole Peninsula. However, much more needs to be done to ensure access to dignified living and working conditions of Migrant workers and their families.

In addition to the basic minimum monthly wage of 1000 Qatari riyals 275 $, the legislation ensures that employers must pay allowances of at least 300 and 500 QAR for food and accommodation respectively, if they do not provide them.

Legislation passed last year provided for a six-month transition period for employers to prepare for the new minimum thresholds. First country in the region is Qatar to introduce a non-discriminatory minimum wage, which is part of a series of landmark reforms to the country’s labor laws.

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