Deutsche Luft-Reederei (D.L.R), founded in 1917, was the first German airline to use heavier than air aircraft. DELAG was the first airline in the world, but flew lighter than air airships supplied by the Zeppelin company. D.L.R.'s first air services began on 5 February 1919. The company used a stylised crane, designed by Professor Otto Firle, as its logo.
In 1919, the airline was one of the founding members of International Air Traffic Association, the predecessor to today's IATA.
The airline merged to became part of Aero Lloyd AG in 1923, who again merged to became part of Deutsche Luft Hansa in 1926, which also adopted the crane logo.