Koninklijke Nederlandsch-Indische Luchtvaart Maatschappij (in English:
Royal Dutch Indies Airways) was the airline of the former Dutch East
Indies. Headquartered in Amsterdam,
KNILM was not a subsidiary of the
better-known KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines), despite the similar name. The
airline had its headquarters in
Amsterdam and an office in on the
grounds of Tjililitan Airfield (current Halim Perdanakusuma
International Airport) in Batavia (current Jakarta).
1 Founding and expansion
1.1 Routes (in 1936)
2 War and demise
3 Aircraft fleet
4 See also
5 Further reading
7 External links
Founding and expansion
KNILM was founded on 16 July 1928 as the NILM by a group of 32
Netherlands Indian investors with a capitalization of NLG 5 million.
To prevent confusion with an existing insurance company Nillmij, it
was appended with the Koninklijk (Royal) title on 15 October 1928. The
airline operated in the
Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia), and
later, parts of
Southeast Asia and Australia.
DC-2 at Oelin
Its first regular operations were between Batavia (now Jakarta) -
Bandung, and Batavia - Semarang, starting on 1 November 1928. The
ceremony was held at Cililitan airport in Batavia (now Halim
Perdanakusuma International Airport). The Batavia-
Semarang flight was
later extended to Surabaya. Gradually, the services were expanded to
include other islands in the archipelago, namely to
Medan in Sumatra,
Balikpapan and Tarakan in Kalimantan, and Denpasar
in Bali. Immediately before the Pacific War,
KNILM also created a
network in the eastern part of the East Indies archipelago, serving
towns such as Ambon. For this purpose, amphibious aircraft were used,
due to the lack of airstrip facilities in the region.
As early as 1930,
KNILM began its first international flight to
Singapore. On 3 July 1938
KNILM began operations to Sydney, stopping
at Darwin, Cloncurry and Charleville.
KNILM did not fly to the
Netherlands, as the Amsterdam-Batavia weekly service was operated by
Routes (in 1936)
Opening first K.N.I.L.M. route to
Bandung in November
1928. Governor-General Jhr. Mr.
A.C.D. de Graeff
A.C.D. de Graeff attending, Tjililitan
airport near Batavia, Java.
Bandung (twice daily in wet season, thrice daily in dry
War and demise
During the Japanese attack of the Dutch East Indies,
utilized for evacuation flights and transport of troops. On December
28, 1941, a
Douglas DC-3 "Nandoe" (PK-ALN) was destroyed on the
ground by Japanese fighters at Medan, killing all crew members and
passengers. Immediately before and after the Japanese invasion on 1
March 1942, all
KNILM aircraft with sufficient range were evacuated to
Australia. On 7 March 1942, one day before the capitulation of Java,
KNILM aircraft took off from the Boeabatoeweg in Bandung. A
KNILM aircraft in Darwin were destroyed by the Japanese
during the bombing of Darwin. In all, 11
KNILM aircraft managed to
escape to Australia: 3 Douglas DC-5s, 2 DC-3s, 2 DC-2s and 3 Lockheed
Model 14 Super Electras. In mid-May 1942 the remaining aircraft were
sold to the American military.
After the Indonesian independence the
KNILM could no longer operate
due to the fighting between Indonesian nationalists and the Dutch
military. All flights in the period were flown using military
aircraft, coordinated through the
Netherlands Indies Government Air
Transport (NIGAT). On paper,
KNILM was reinstated to operate charter
flights to eastern Indonesian locations. Starting on 16 November 1946
it operated a weekly trans-Pacific flight between Batavia and Los
Angeles. The service was performed with four-engined DC-4s of the
NIGAT. It was not successful and was discontinued after a few months.
KNILM was officially disbanded on 1 August 1947, and the remaining
assets were transferred to KLM, which created the KLM Interinsulair
Bedrijf (Interinsular Service - present time Garuda Indonesia) to
operate air services in the Indonesian archipelago.
Fokker F.VIIb/3m introduced between 1928 and 1930. Registered as
H-NAFA to H-NAFD, later PK-AFA to PK-AFD.
2 Fokker F.XII, introduced in 1931. Registered PK-AFH and PK-AFI.
3 Douglas DC-2, introduced in 1935.
De Havilland Dragon Rapide
De Havilland Dragon Rapide introduced in 1935 for aerial mapping in
Dutch New Guinea.
Sikorsky S-38 amphibious aircraft, introduced in 1936 for aerial
mapping in Dutch New Guinea.
5 Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra, introduced in 1938 for the
2 Grumman G-21A Goose amphibious aircraft, introduced in 1940.
Douglas DC-3 transferred from KLM in 1940 after the occupation of
Douglas DC-5 introduced in 1940-1941. These account for 80% of the
aircraft type made for civilian use.
Sikorsky S-43 amphibious aircraft introduced in 1941.
Aviation in Indonesia
Gerard Casius and Thijs Postma, 40 jaar luchtvaart in Indië (Alkmaar,
Marc Dierikx, Bevlogen jaren, Nederlandse burgerluchtvaart tussen de
wereldoorlogen (Houten, 1986)
G.J. Hagens - De
KNILM vloog door..., Java's evacuatie 1942 (Haarlem,
^ 1 May 1930 Timetable (Archive). KNILM. Retrieved on 22 August 2014.
"Hoofdkantoor en agentschappen AMSTERDAM Hoofdkantoor, N.
Spiegelstraat 5[...]BATAVIA Hoofdkantoor voor Indië, Sluisbrug[...]na
5 uur Mtg 671. Vliegveld Tjilitian"
Wikimedia Commons has media related to KNILM.
Fokker F.XII: a loyal Indies aircraft
DC-3 VH-ANR (formerly KNILM's PK-ALW)
KNILM baggage labels
Documents and clippings about
KNILM in the 20th Century Press Archives
German National Library of Economics
German National Library of Economics (ZBW).
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