1 Jan 2014

100 years of commercial aviation

9:11 pm on 1 January 2014

Commercial aviation began 100 years ago on Wednesday. The first flight carried one passenger across Tampa Bay in Florida in an early flying boat.

Air NZ planes

Photo: RNZ

The centenary of commercial aviation is being commemorated by the International Air Transport Association.

It says commercial aviation has grown in that time to do more than $2 trillion of business a year, employing 57 million people.

Many airlines have undergone economic difficulties in recent years, but IATA says the current outlook is good.

It adds aviation has opened up all corners of the world to travel and trade and has broken down barriers between people.

In the next 100 years, the Economist magazine forecasts pilotless civilian aircraft, an aviation equivalent of the private car, and hydrogen-burning airliners flying on the edge of space.