KNILM Surabaya to Batavia – September 1932

It is hard to find original footage of aviation in the Netherlands East Indies during the pioneering years of the 1920’s and 30’s. But sometimes I am in luck. This time, Willem Kramer sent me a U-Tube link to footage of his grandfathers “maiden flight” from Surabaya to Batavia (Jakarta nowadays) on September 21, 1932. Here it is (and thanks Willem!)

Digging in my archives I managed to come up with the timetable for that period.


It shows a flight time (including a stop at Samarang) of 4 hours and 30 minutes. This may seem long, compared to present day flight times, but it sure beat sitting  in the tropical heat in a train all day.
The price was something else though. A single fare ticket is shown here at the “reduced price” of Dfl. 90.= To put it into perspective, this is the equivalent of a whopping € 717,= nowadays (!)
Those, staying behind after having waved you off, could have gone on a joyride at just  Dfl. 12, 50, the equivalent of a mere € 96,= …
Yeah, flying was for the rich or the businessmen in those days.

About Kingsleyr

Thank you for visiting my blog! The posts you find here are a direct result of my research into aviation and military history. I use the information I gather as a foundation and background for my books. You may call the genre historical fiction, a story woven into a background of solid and verifiable historical facts. However, the period and region I have chosen to write about (late 1930's - 1950's in South-East Asia) are jam-packed with interesting information and anecdotes. If I'd used them all I would swamp the stories. So this blog is the next best thing. It is an "overflow area" in which I can publish whatever I think will interest you. And from the reactions I get, I deduce I am on the right track. A lot will be about aviation in the former Dutch East Indies. This, because my series of books ("The Java Gold") follows a young Dutch pilot in his struggle to survive the Pacific War and its aftermath. But there's more in the world and you'll find descriptions of cities, naval operations and what not published on this blog. Something about myself; I am a Dutch-Canadian author, living in, and working out of the magical city of Amsterdam. My lifelong interest in history and aviation, especially WW2, has led me to write articles and books on these subjects. I hope you'll enjoy them!
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