DELAG, acronym for Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft (German for "German Airship Travel Corporation"), was the world's first airline to use an aircraft in revenue service. It was founded on 16 November 1909 with government assistance and operated Zeppelin rigid airships manufactured by the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin Corporation. Its headquarters were located in Frankfurt, Germany.
Alfred Colsman served as the airline's first general director. Also involved in the early stages were Dr. Love and Dr. Franz Adickes, the mayor of Frankfurt. The founding capital amounted to three million Marks, of which the majority (Mk 2,600,000) came from the cities of Frankfurt and Düsseldorf. The remaining Mk 400,000 came in the form of the airships from the Zeppelin plant in Friedrichshafen.
Passenger service aboard the airship LZ 7 began in 1910 with routes from Frankfurt to Baden-Baden and Düsseldorf. This vessel, known as the Deutschland, was destroyed on 28 June 1910 (nine days after its maiden voyage) when it crashed into the Teutoburger forest. One year later, a steward was introduced aboard the new airship LZ 10 Schwaben and was responsible for the well-being of the passengers.
By 1913, DELAG had established a route network between Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Baden-Oos, Berlin-Johannisthal, Gotha, Hamburg, Dresden and Leipzig. The outbreak of World War I prevented the planned expansion to other European capitals.
By July 1914, one month before the start of World War I, DELAG's Zeppelins had transported 34,028 passengers on 1,588 commercial flights; the fleet had flown 172,535 kilometres in 3,176 hours.