Beat Felber, Berne

1919–2019 Swiss air transport

1919 was the year when regular airmail services began and when scheduled passenger flights were launched in Switzerland. This makes it a year of firsts for Swiss aviation in two different ways.

On 8 January 1919, a Häfeli DH-3 biplane transported courier consignments by air for the first time. The 63-minute flight took off from Dübendorf and landed in Beundenfeld, Berne. The route was extended to Lausanne in early February, and in mid-April, the stopover was moved to Oberlindach, the location of Berne’s airfield until 1922. In the September of the same year, the route was extended as far as Geneva. The aircraft was a Swiss design: the two-seater DH-3 was originally constructed as a reconnaissance biplane by the Swiss Federal Armament Works Thun. The special stamp of the Swiss Pro Aero Foundation features an eye-catching red tail fin with the white cross – the identifying mark of Swiss commercial aircraft. The second main object on the stamp takes us back 100 years with an image of the DH-3, which previously appeared on an airmail stamp marking its 25th anniversary in 1944. In the background, the first airmail routes and a modern SWISS Bombardier CS100 can also be seen.

Jürg Freudiger