On January 1st, 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, pioneering 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.

The modern miracle of commercial aviation and today's world

Since that historic moment 100 years ago, commercial aviation has transformed the world in ways unimaginable in 1914. 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.

And 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

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 in this remarkable sector - 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. On issues ranging from safety and security, to environmental sustainability, and innovation and infrastructure.

So as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of that world-changing moment on 1st January 2014 and beyond, we ask you to the join the celebration of the modern miracle of commercial flight...

...and as we move through 2014, to join the conversation about what needs to happen to make the next century of commercial flight even more momentous.


  • Explore our review of the first 100 years of commercial flight
  • Share your stories and first flight memories
  • Be a part of the #Flying100 twitter celebration and conversation
  • Find us on Facebook
  • Share your perspective on how to make the next 100 years even more remarkable
  • Visit us regularly throughout 2014 for news and updates

This website has been developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which was created in 1945 by the airline industry to represent them and create the standards that have enabled global air connectivity. Today IATA is an advocate for the industry and works with aviation stakeholders to make aviation safer, more secure, and more sustainable. Find out more at www.iata.org