From The Canadian International Freight Forwarding Association’s (CIFFA) e-newsletter:

The International Air Transport Association invites everyone with an interest in aviation to join a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary. On Jan. 1, 1914, a team of four people combined efforts in the first scheduled commercial airline flight. Percival Fansler organized the funding for the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line, which provided the first scheduled air service across Tampa Bay, Fla. Thomas Benoist’s airboat conducted the first flight, piloted by Tony Jannus. Abram Pheil, then mayor of St. Petersburg, paid US$400 (293 euros) at auction for the 23-minute flight.

Today, the global aviation industry provides unprecedented connectivity and affects people in all corners of the world. About 50 million tonnes of cargo is transported by air each year (about 140,000 tonnes daily). The annual value of these goods is some US$6.4 trillion (4.6 trillion euros) – or 35 percent of the value of goods traded internationally. On average, every day more than 8 million people fly. Aviation supports over 57 million jobs and generates US$2.2 trillion (1.6 trillion euros) in economic activity. As for commemorative activities, a website www.flying100years.com was launched on Jan. 1 to host the centennial celebration.