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The airline previously operated DC-8 passenger and freight combi aircraft as well and currently operates Boeing 747-400 combi aircraft.

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In April 1921, after a winter hiatus, KLM resumed its services using its own pilots, and Fokker F. Until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, this was the world's longest-distance scheduled service by airplane.

KLM's Douglas DC-2 aircraft Uiver in transit at Rambang airfield on the east coast of Lombok island following the aircraft being placed second in the Mac Robertson Air Race from RAF Mildenhall, England, to Melbourne in 1934. The Douglas DC-2 was introduced on the Batavia service in 1934.

The airline issued additional shares of stock to the government in return for its money.

In the late 1970s, the government's stake had again increased to a majority of 78%, re-nationalizing it. In 1983, it reached an agreement with Boeing to convert ten of its Boeing 747-200 combo aircraft to stretched-upper-deck configuration.

KLM was founded in 1919; it is the oldest airline in the world still operating under its original name and had 35,488 employees as of 2015 In 1919, a young aviator lieutenant named Albert Plesman sponsored the ELTA aviation exhibition in Amsterdam.

The exhibition was a great success; after it closed several Dutch commercial interests intended to establish a Dutch airline, which Plesman was nominated to head.

In 1983, KLM took delivery of the first of ten Airbus A310 passenger jets. On 30 September 2003, Air France and KLM agreed to a merger plan in which Air France and KLM would become subsidiaries of a holding company called Air France–KLM.

KLM renewed its intercontinental fleets by replacing the Boeing 767s, Boeing 747-300s, and eventually the Mc Donnell Douglas MD-11, with Boeing 777-200ERs and Airbus A330-200s. Both airlines would retain their own brands, and both Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol would become key hubs.

KLM is headquartered in Amstelveen, with its hub at nearby Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

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