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DELAG share, 1910
DELAG oval stamp, 1910

The DELAG , the German Luftschiffahrts-stock company , was the first airline in the world. It was founded on 16 November 1909 with government support and operational by the Air Zeppelin GmbH built transport airships . The company was based in Frankfurt am Main .


DELAG was mainly founded by Alfred Colsman . He was also the general director of the LZ Group, a network of companies around Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH from Friedrichshafen . Furthermore, Hugo Eckener as authorized signatory and the mayor of Frankfurt Franz Adickes were involved . The initial capital was three million marks. The majority of this (2,600,000 marks) was brought in by major cities under the leadership of Adickes (Frankfurt am Main) and W. Marx ( Düsseldorf ). The remaining 400,000 marks in the form of airships came from Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH.

In 1910, passenger operations from Frankfurt to Oos near Baden-Baden and Düsseldorf were to commence with the rigid airship LZ 7 "Deutschland" . However, nine days after its maiden voyage on June 28, 1910, the airship "Deutschland" was packed by a gust of wind in a storm area in the Teutoburg Forest, pushed into trees and damaged to the extent that it had to be scrapped. As a replacement, the LZ 8 "Germany" was built from the still usable parts, which was destroyed by a gust in 1911. In 1911 the most successful rigid airship of the DELAG LZ 10 "Schwaben" was introduced up to that point . The well-being of the Swabian passengers was taken care of in a wood-paneled passenger gondola with fine food and corresponding wines.

As early as 1913, a transport network between Düsseldorf, Oos, Berlin-Johannisthal , Gotha , Frankfurt am Main , * Hamburg , Dresden and Leipzig was established. However, the First World War prevented the planned connection of European capitals.

In July 1914, one month before the start of the First World War, the commercial rigid airships of DELAG had transported a total of 34,028 passengers on 1,588 journeys and covered a distance of 172,535 km in 3,176 flight hours.

The rigid airships LZ 11, LZ 13 and LZ 17 were handed over to the German army during the First World War.

With the rigid airships LZ 120 "Bodensee" and LZ 121 "Nordstern" , DELAG wanted to connect the cities in Europe with one another after the First World War from 1919. LZ 120 was already in service between Friedrichshafen and Berlin-Staaken , sometimes with a stopover in Munich. However, both ships had to be given to the victors of the First World War as reparations in 1921 .

  • LZ 120 had to be given to Italy, where it was named "Esperia".
  • LZ 121 had to be handed over to France, where it was named "Méditerranée".

With the LZ 127 "Graf Zeppelin" , DELAG operated from September 1928 what is probably the most successful rigid airship ever. This made it possible for the first time to have a regular non-stop transatlantic flight connection, even before aircraft were able to do so. LZ 127 was also the last rigid airship in service with DELAG.

The Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei GmbH (DZR) was founded in 1935 . When it was founded, the LZ 127 rigid airship and the LZ 129 “Hindenburg” rigid airship , which was not yet completed at this point in time, were brought in as start-up capital. The DZR should serve as a carrier for airships with state participation.

On August 15, 2001 another company was founded with the name Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei GmbH. This is still a full subsidiary of Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG (ZLT) and operates the Zeppelin NT airships.

DELAG airships

Airship LZ 6
Airship LZ 7 "Germany"

Before the First World War:

After the First World War:

See also


  • Gunter Stemmler : 100 Years Rebstock Airship Port - Rhein-Main Airport 1912–2012, in: Archives for Hessian History and Archeology, 70, 2012, pp. 427–430.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hans-Jürgen Becker, Rudolf Höfling: 100 years of airships . Motorbuch Verlag, 2000. ISBN 3-613-02071-8
  2. ^ Peter Meyer: Airships . Bernard & Graefe Verlag, 1996. ISBN 3-7637-5951-4
  3. a b Rick Archbold, Ken Marschall: Airship Hindenburg and the great time of the zeppelins . Bechtermünz Verlag, 1994. ISBN 3-86047-911-3
  4. Captain Hans von Schiller: Zeppelin, pioneer of world air traffic . Kirschbaum Verlag, Bad Godesberg 1966.
  5. Information on the company history of Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG / Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei GmbH from June 1, 2008