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Celebrating 100 Years of Commercial Flight

On 1 January 1914, Abram C. Pheil, former mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida, made a decision that would change the world – to become the first ever paying passenger on a commercial flight.

On that landmark day, pilot Tony Jannus flew a bi-wing airboat across the bay from St. Petersburg to Tampa, Florida on a 23-minute journey that would mark the birth of the global airline industry.


First flight - archive image

The modern miracle of commercial aviation and today's world

Since that historic moment 100 years ago, commercial aviation has transformed the world. It has re-united loved ones, connected cultures, expanded minds, opened up markets, saved lives, and allowed people worldwide to dream of a bigger, brighter future and turn it into a reality.

Today, over 3 billion passengers and 50 million tonnes of cargo reach their destination through the wonder of flight every year, supporting over 57 million jobs and $2.2 trillion in economic activity.

Small world, big future: www.flying100years.com

Air travel has made the world smaller, opening up new possibilities for tourism, business, and human connections. The potential of commercial flight to keep driving economic and social change is almost unlimited. We believe air travel has a big future, but only if everyone involved - the industry, governments, regulators and local communities - works together in the long-term interests of all those whose lives are transformed by commercial aviation every day.

So join in the celebration and participate in the conversation about what needs to happen to make the next century of commercial flight even more momentous.

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© International Air Transport Association (IATA) 2014. All rights reserved.