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  • Writer's pictureRich Honiball

Today in Brand History: Air France

In 1933, Air France was formed from five French airlines, Air Orient, Air Union, the Société Générale de Transport Aérien, and the C.I.D.N.A. following the takeover of the assets of the bankrupt Aéropostale.

Using the Air Orient winged seahorse logo, the new airline prioritized comfort and safety. It provided luggage racks, individual fans, heating, and the service of a cabin steward. By 1938, Air France had over 100 air planes and had the world's third largest network.

The airline significantly reduced its operations during the war. In 1941, a network was set up in Damascus run by Lionel de Marmier, under the authority of the General de Gaulle with the purpose to link up the territories of Free France. On June 26, 1945, the French civil aviation industry was nationalized and the former private company Air France became government owned and started to expand its international routes.

Air France was one of the first international airlines to acquire jets. Air France the Caravelle and the Boeing B707 into service 1959. With the Boeing B707, flight time was cut in half. New York was now only 8 hours and 10 minutes from Paris. Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro were served by non-stop flights. Air France was one of the first airlines to introduce movies on long-haul flights.

In 1976, Air France introduced the supersonic Concorde on the Paris-Dakar-Rio de Janeiro route. The pride of the French and British aeronautics industry, no aircraft built since has flown at Mach 2.02 speed. Today, Air France operates 1,500 daily flights in France, Europe and worldwide. Since 2004, Air France and KLM have formed one of the leading European groups in the air-transport sector.


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