100 years Fokker and KLM
On October 7th, we are celebrating 100 years KLM. We also celebrate that on July 21st it is exactly 100 years ago that Tony Fokker founded the NV Nederlandsche Vliegtuigenfabriek.
That was just before Albert Plesman organized the ELTA, the first aviation exhibition in Amsterdam; the start of civil aviation in the Netherlands and the reason why Plesman founded KLM later that year.
Despite a moving goodbye between KLM and her last Fokker F70 October 28th 2017, there has never been a warm friendship between the stubborn and rational Plesman and the intuitive businessman Fokker. Even before the founding of KLM, during the ELTA, "Fokker was not really welcome as a participant among all those French, English and Italians. (...) although that Dutch company could not be ignored. The name Fokker could only be found on a plane that did some sightseeing flights. " (source: article in Verenigde Vleugels).
Nevertheless, Fokker was KLM's most important aircraft supplier in the period of the wooden wing aircraft. Fokker experienced its heyday until the thirties.
But when the metal planes arrived, Fokker failed to innovate. Plesman’s KLM no longer needed the model F20 and the F.36 for his routes to the Dutch East Indies and choose for the DC-2 and DC-3. Fokker had to bear the development costs himself almost went bankrupt. Fokker survived thanks to government grants and the setup of a DC-2 assembly line in Amsterdam…
The first Fokker in KLM colours since than was the prototype of the F-27 Friendship, but Plesman saw no room for the new turboprop in his royal fleet. The F-27 was used by subsidiary NLM throughout the seventies, with addition of F28’s during the eighties. The first Fokker aircraft to sport the crown logo on the tail was the Fokker F100 in 1989. But that was also not a successful 'fellowship' altogether.
The industrialization of the northern and southern provinces of the Netherlands and the demographic growth made fast connections with airport Schiphol-Amsterdam and the harbour city of Rotterdam more attractive. In 1966 KLM founded the ‘Nederlandse Luchtvaart Maatschappij’, NLM for short.
At first, two lines were established: the Northern one that led to Groningen via Enschede and the Southern one to Maastricht via Rotterdam and Eindhoven. The fleet consisted of two Fokker F27 Troopships hired from the Royal Netherlands Air Force.
Only in 1974 the NLM did step outside the national borders with lines to Hamburg and Brussels. On the occasion of the tenth anniversary and to underline the growing international character, the name ‘Cityhopper’ was added in 1976.
In 1978 the NLM Cityhopper’s fleet expanded with F-28 jet aircraft. These aircraft would mainly be deployed from Rotterdam Airport ‘Zestienhoven’. KLM's standard aircraft within Europe, the DC-9, was too large on these routes to be able to fly economically at short distances and the capacity of the F-27 was too low. The long body F-28-4000 offered a great solution: an F28 filled for three-quarters would yield a profit, where a half-filled DC-9 would suffer a loss.
The network of NLM Cityhopper expanded and gradually became a feeder for transfers at Schiphol. In 1988 KLM acquired the regional airline Netherlines, after which NLM and Netherlines were merged and continued from 1991 under the name KLM Cityhopper BV.
KLM Cityhopper has grown to an important airline within the KLM Group. ‘KLC’ as it is often referred to, currently flies with 49 Embraer aircraft and performs around 300 flights to 60 destinations every day, transporting more than 7 million passengers annually.
My subject is the PH-CHN "City of Belfast". As a 15-year-old I once flew in it from Amsterdam to Brussels. The aircraft entered the fleet in 1982 as a replacement for the PH-CHI "Eindhoven", that sadly crashed on October 6, 1981 near Moerdijk.
The kit is from F-RSIN (plastic variant, introduced in 2017) and needs a lot of attention before it looks a bit like an F-28...
A nice scoop: She is still alive!
PH-CHN s/n 11176
Fokker F28 Mark 4000 Fellowship
- 14.07.1982 Fokker BV, Schiphol-Oost. PH-EXU
- 03.08.1982 KLM NV, Amstelveen. PH-CHN "Belfast"
- 10.06.1996 Aircraft Financing and Trading BV, Amsterdam.
- 11.06.1996 Air Ostrava (basic Cityhopper livey) OK-MEO
- 06.02.1997 Merpati Nusantara Airlines, PK-MSX
- 21.07.1998 Montenegro Airlines, YU-AOI
- 20.07.1998 Registration canceled.
- 14.06.2000 as N800DH stored at Woensdrecht.
- 13.06.2014 transferred to the Aircraft Maintenance & Training School in Hoogerheide as teaching material for students.
Unlike all official posts, PH-CHN, sn / A11176 still is alive! In fact, with only one or two airworthy F-28’s, she is one of the most operational F-28s in the world! Ok, minus the tail, stabilo and the RH wing, RH engine incl stubwing. But all instruments, on-board computers and systems are complete and working! She now functions as teaching material for students of the Aircraft Maintenance & Training School in Hoogerheide.
Here she is right on the photo. In the middle is F100 PH-OFF.
Thanks for the attention of this small but interesting part of Dutch aviation history.