On August 28, 1919 representatives from 6 airlines gathered at The Hague, Netherlands to create the International Air Traffic Association . This association took on the responsibility of coordinating and standardizing international air travel (which began in 1919) and Postal Air Services. It was the fore-father to the modern day International Air Transport Association (IATA) that was founded in Havana, Cuba in April of 1945.
Germany’s Deutsche Luft-Reederei (what would become today’s Lufthansa) joined with 5 other European carriers to form the association who’s objective was to establish policies and procedures that would govern the member airline’s technical, logistical and operational processes.
The other 5 founding members of this alliance included:
Air Transport & Travel – Great Britain
Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij (KLM) – Netherlands
Svenska Luft Trafik A.B. – Sweden
Det Dankse Luftfartselskab – Denmark
Det Norske Luftfartsrederi – Norway
The original IATA never did gain far reaching oversight due to restrictions that were in place in the Ruhr and Rhineland regions as a result of the Treaty of Versailles that effectively ended World War I between Germany and the allied forces.
The IATA would be limited to European airline operations and primarily would focus on the regulation of Air Mail since it was the primary driver of Airline revenue at the time. Pan Am would become the first non-European member when it joined in 1939. However with the beginning of hostilities in Europe in 1939 that would lead to World War 2, the IATA’s activities were put on hold until the revised IATA was unveiled in Havana after the war.