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"Air France" is also a nickname for basketball player Mickaël Piétrus.


Air France (formally Société Air France) is a Frenchmarker airline headquartered in Tremblay-en-France, Francemarker (near Parismarker), and is one of the world's largest airlines. It is a subsidiary of the Air France-KLM Group and a founding member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance. Air France serves 20 destinations in France and operates worldwide scheduled passenger and cargo services to 150 destinations in 83 countries (including Overseas departments and territories of France). The airline's global hub is at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airportmarker, with Paris Orly Airportmarker, Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airportmarker, and Nice Côte d'Azur Airportmarker serving as secondary hubs. Air France's corporate headquarters, previously in Montparnassemarker, Parismarker, are located on the grounds of Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airportmarker, north of Paris.

Air France was formed on 7 October 1933, from a merger of Air Orient, Air Union, Compagnie Générale Aéropostale, Compagnie Internationale de Navigation Aérienne , and Société Générale de Transport Aérien . In 1990, the airline acquired the operations of French domestic carrier Air Inter and international rival UTA - Union des Transports Aériens. Air France served as France's primary national flag carrier for seven decades prior to its 2003 merger with KLM. Between April 2001 and March 2002, the airline carried 43.3mn passengers and had a total revenue of 12.53bn. In November 2004, Air France ranked as the largest European airline with 25.5% total market share, and was the largest airline in the world in terms of operating revenue.

Air France operates a mixed fleet of Airbus and Boeing wide-body jetliners on long-haul routes, and utilises Airbus A320 family aircraft on short-haul routes. Air France will debut the A380 on 20 November 2009 with service to New York's JFK Airport from Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport. The carrier's regional airline subsidiary, Régional, operates the majority of its regional domestic and European scheduled services with a fleet of regional jet and turboprop aircraft.

History

Formation and early years

Air France was formed on 7 October 1933, from a merger of Air Orient, Air Union, Compagnie Générale Aéropostale, Compagnie Internationale de Navigation Aérienne (CIDNA), and Société Générale de Transport Aérien (SGTA). Of these airlines, SGTA was the first commercial airline company in Francemarker, having been founded as Lignes Aériennes Farman in 1919. The constituent members of Air France had already built extensive networks across Europe, to French colonies in North Africa and farther afield.During World War II, Air France moved its operations to Casablancamarker (Morocco). On 26 June 1945, all of France's air transport companies were nationalised. On 29 December 1945, a decree of the French government granted Air France the management of the entire French air transport network. Air France appointed its first flight attendants in 1946. The same year the airline opened its first air terminal at Les Invalidesmarker in central Paris. It was linked to Paris Le Bourget Airportmarker, Air France's first operations and engineering base, by coach. At that time the network covered 160,000 km, claimed to be the longest in the world. Société Nationale Air France was set up on 1 January 1946.

On 1 July 1946, Air France inaugurated direct scheduled service between Paris and New Yorkmarker via refuelling stops at Shannonmarker and Gandermarker. Douglas DC-4 piston-engined airliners covered the route in just under 20 hours. By 1948 Air France operated one of the largest fleets in the world, numbering 130 aircraft. In 1946 and 1948, respectively, the French government further authorised the creation of two private airlines: Transports Aériens Internationaux - later Transports Aériens Intercontinentaux - (TAI) and SATI. In 1949 the latter became part of Union Aéromaritime de Transport , a private French international airline.

Compagnie Nationale Air France was created by act of parliament on 16 June 1948. Initially, the government held 70%. In subsequent years the French state's direct and indirect shareholdings reached almost 100%. In mid-2002 the state held 54%. On 4 August 1948 Max Hymans was appointed president. During his 13-year tenure he would implement modernisation practices centred on the introduction of jet aircraft. In 1949, the company became a co-founder of Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques , an airline telecommunications services company.

Jet age reorganisation

Passengers disembarking from a Sud-Est SE-161 Carreidas.
In 1952, Air France moved its operations and engineering base to the new Paris Orly Airport South terminal. By that time, the network had further expanded, covering 250,000 km. Air France entered the jet age in 1953 with the original, short-lived de Havilland Comet series 1, the world's first jetliner. At the time, it was also a major operator of the Vickers Viscount turboprop. On 26 September 1953, the government instructed Air France to share long-distance routes with new private airlines. This was followed by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport's imposition of an accord on Air France, Aigle Azur, TAI and UAT, under which some routes to Africa, Asia and the Pacificmarker region were transferred to private carriers.

On 23 February 1960, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport transferred Air France's domestic monopoly to Air Inter. To compensate for the loss of its domestic network, Air France was given a stake in Air Inter. The following day, Air France was further instructed to share African routes with Air Afrique and UAT. The airline started uninterrupted pure jet operations in 1960 with the Sud Aviation Caravelle and the Boeing 707. The incorporation of jet airliners into Air France's route network cut travel times in half and improved passenger comfort. Air France later became an early Boeing 747 operator, and eventually operated one of the world's largest 747 fleets.

Air France Caravelle jetliner in Algiers in 1963.
On 1 February 1963, the government formalised division of routes between Air France and its private sector rivals. Air France was to withdraw services to West Africa (with the exception of Senegalmarker), Central Africa (except Burundimarker and Rwandamarker), Southern Africa (including South Africa), Libyamarker in North Africa, Bahrainmarker and Omanmarker in the Middle East, Sri Lankamarker (then known as Ceylonmarker) in South Asia, Indonesiamarker, Malaysiamarker and Singaporemarker in Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealandmarker as well as New Caledoniamarker and Tahitimarker. These routes were allocated to the new Union des Transports Aériens (UTA), a new private airline that was the result of a merger between TAI and UAT. UTA also obtained exclusive rights between Japanmarker, New Caledonia and New Zealand, South Africa and Réunionmarker island in the Indian Oceanmarker, as well as Los Angelesmarker and Tahiti.

From 1974, Air France began shifting the bulk of operations to the new Charles de Gaulle Airport north of Paris. By the early 1980s, only Corsicamarker, Martiniquemarker, Guadeloupemarker, most services to French Guyanamarker, Réunion, the Maghreb region, Eastern Europe (except the USSRmarker), Southern Europe (except Greecemarker and Italymarker), and one daily service to New York (JFK) remained at Orly. In 1974, Air France also became the world's first operator of the Airbus A300 twin-engined widebodied plane, Airbus Industrie's first commercial airliner for which it was a launch customer.

In 1975, Air France was headquartered in central Parismarker.

Concorde service and rivalry

On 21 January 1976, Air France operated its inaugural supersonic transport service on the Paris (Charles de Gaulle) to Riomarker (via Dakarmarker) route with the Anglo-French BAC-Aérospatiale Concorde. Supersonic services from Paris (CDG) to New Yorkmarker (JFK) - the only remaining Concorde service until its end - as well as from Paris CDG to Washington D.C.marker commenced the following year. Paris to New York was covered in three hours and 23 minutes, about twice the speed of sound. Approval for flights to the United Statesmarker was initially withheld due to noise protests. Eventually, services to Mexico Citymarker via Washington, D.C.marker were started. Air France became one of only two airlines - British Airways being the other - to regularly operate supersonic services, and continued daily transatlantic Concorde service for nearly two decades.

By 1983, Air France's golden jubilee, the workforce numbered more than 34,000, its fleet about 100 jet aircraft (including 33 Boeing 747s) and its 634,400 km network served 150 destinations in 73 countries. This made Air France the fourth-largest scheduled passenger airline in the world, as well as the second-largest scheduled freight carrier. Air France also codeshared with regional French airlines, TAT being the most prominent. TAT applied Air France livery to several of its aircraft on Air France's regional international routes.

In 1985 Air France was still headquartered in central Paris.

Air France operated 33 Boeing 747s by 1983.
In 1986 the government relaxed its policy of dividing traffic rights for scheduled services between Air France, Air Inter and UTA, without route overlaps between them. The decision opened some of Air France's most lucrative routes on which it had enjoyed a government-sanctioned monopoly since 1963 and which were within its exclusive sphere of influence, to rival airlines, notably UTA. The changes enabled UTA to launch scheduled services to new destinations within Air France's sphere, in competition with that airline.

Paris-San Franciscomarker became the first route UTA served in competition with Air France non-stop from Paris. Air France responded by extending some non-stop Paris-Los Angeles services to Papeetemarker, Tahiti, which competed with UTA on Los Angeles-Papeete. UTA's ability to secure traffic rights outside its traditional sphere in competition with Air France was the result of a campaign to lobby the government to enable it to grow faster, becoming more dynamic and more profitable. This infuriated Air France.

In 1988, Air France was a launch customer for the fly-by-wire A320 narrowbody twin, along with Air Inter and British Caledonian. It became the first airline to take delivery of the A320 in March 1988, and along with Air Inter became the first airlines to introduce Airbus A320 service on short-haul routes.

Acquisitions and privatisation

Dassault Mercure of Air Inter which became part of Air France in 1990.


On 12 January 1990, the operations of government-owned Air France, semi-public Air Inter and wholly private UTA were merged into an enlarged Air France. Air France's acquisition of UTA and Air Inter was part of an early 1990s government plan to create a unified, national air carrier with the economies of scale and global reach to counter potential threats from the liberalisation of the EU's internal air transport market.

On 25 July 1994, a new holding company, Groupe Air France, was set up by decree. Groupe Air France became operational on 1 September 1994. It acquired the Air France group's majority shareholdings in Air France and Air Inter (subsequently renamed Air France Europe). On 31 August 1994, Stephen Wolf, a former United Airlines CEO, was appointed adviser to the Air France group's chairman Christian Blanc. Wolf was credited with the introduction of Air France's hub and spoke operation at Paris Charles de Gaulle. (Wolf resigned in 1996 to take over as CEO at US Airways.)

In 1997, Air France Europe was absorbed into Air France.

On 19 February 1999, French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's Plural Left government approved the Air France's partial privatisation. Its shares were listed on the Paris stock exchange on 22 February 1999. In June 1999, Air France and Delta Air Lines formed a bilateral transatlantic partnership. On 22 June 2000, this expanded into the SkyTeam global airline alliance.

Air France-KLM merger

The merger of Air France and KLM occurred in 2004.
On 30 September 2003, Air France and Netherlandsmarker-based KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced the merger of the two airlines, the new company to be known as Air France-KLM. The merger became reality on 5 May 2004. At that point former Air France shareholders owned 81% of the new firm (44% owned by the French state, 37% by private shareholders), former KLM shareholders the rest. The decision of the Jean-Pierre Raffarin government to reduce the French state's shareholding in the former Air France group from 54.4% to 44% of the newly created Air France-KLM Group effectively privatised the new airline. In December 2004 the state sold 18.4% of its equity in Air France-KLM. The state's shareholding in Air France-KLM subsequently fell to just under 20%.

Air France operations at Charles de Gaulle airport in 2006.
Air France-KLM became the largest airline in the world in terms of operating revenues, and third-largest (largest in Europe) in passenger kilometres. Although owned by a single company, Air France and KLM continued to fly under their own brand names. Air France-KLM remained part of the SkyTeam alliance, which now included Aeroflot, Delta Air Lines, Aeroméxico, Korean Air, Czech Airlines, Alitalia, Northwest Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Air Europa and Continental Airlines. As of March 2004, Air France employed 71,654 people. As of March 2007, the airline employed 102,422 personnel.

According to Air France-KLM, the company's principal activities became:
  • Passenger transport: first European airline with 25.5% of market share (November 2004) and largest airline in the world in terms of operating revenue.
  • Freight transport: largest company for international freight transportation without integration. With integration, Air France-KLM is third worldwide behind FedEx Express and UPS Airlines.
  • Airplane maintenance and repair: largest multi-services operator.


Open skies venture

On 17 October 2007, the creation of a profit and revenue-sharing transatlantic joint venture between Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines was announced during a press conference at Air France-KLM's Roissy-CDG headquarters. The venture became effective on 29 March 2008. It aimed to exploit transatlantic opportunities to capture a major share of long-haul business traffic from London Heathrow Airportmarker, which opened to unrestricted competition on that day as a result of the "Open Skies" pact between the EU and USA. It was envisaged that Air France and Delta, as well as fellow SkyTeam members Continental and Northwest, would begin nine daily round trips between London-Heathrow and destinations in the USA, including a daily London (Heathrow) to Los Angeles service by Air France. Once the new Air France-Delta venture received antitrust immunity, it was to be extended to the other two transatlantic SkyTeam partners, enabling all four partners to codeshare flights as well as to share revenue and profit.

The new transatlantic joint venture marks the Air France-KLM Group's second major expansion in the London market, following the launch of CityJet-operated short-haul services from London City Airportmarker that have been aimed at business travellers in the Citymarker's financial services industry. However, the daily London (Heathrow) to Los Angeles service was not as successful as hoped, and was discontinued in November 2008.

Recent developments

On 13 January, Air France agreed to enter into recently privatised Alitalia's capital share with a 25% stake. This capital investment is coupled with a co-operation agreement on an industrial basis. It is expected that Air France's participation will increase in the years and that may likely lead to a merger with Alitalia, although nothing has been agreed so far on this.

Corporate identity

Liveries and logo

Air France title logo from 1970s-2008
The hippocampe ailé logo.
Air France Boeing 777-300ER in the new livery landing at Montreal-Trudeau.


Air France's present livery is a Eurowhite scheme, comprising a white fuselage with the blue Air France title and design. The tail is white with a series of parallel red and blue lines across the it at an angle, and a small European flag at the top. This livery has been in use since the late 1970s. In 2008, to coincide with Air France's new logo, a change in livery is expected soon with the new logo replacing the old one at the forward fuselage. The tail will have little change; there will now be 3 blue bars running down instead of 4 previously. The bars will also now curve at the bottom reflecting the design of the logo. Previously, Air France aircraft had a bare-metal underside, extending up to a blue cheat-line that ran across the cabin windows. Above the cheat-line the fuselage was again white, with Air France titles and a French flag. The tail was white with two thick blue lines, which tapered from the rear of the tail and met at point towards the front bottom. This basic livery, with minor variations, would appear on all post-war Air France aircraft until the late 1970s.

Upon its formation, Air France adopted the seahorse logo of its predecessor Air Orient, known as the hippocampe ailé, as its insignia. Prior to the Air France-KLM merger, the hippocampe ailé was used on the nose section of aircraft next to the Groupe Air France title; after the merger, the Air France-KLM logo was substituted at the nose area, and the hippocampe ailé was relocated to engine nacelles. The acroynm "AF" has also featured prominently on the airline's flag and its signage. On 7 January 2008, Air France officially changed its logo to a red stripe.

Marketing

The song played before and after Air France flights (during boarding and after landing) is 'Setting Fire to Sleepy Towns.' by The Sleeping Years. The song featured in the Air France commercials is 'Between Us' by the band Aswefall.

Uniforms

Air France uniforms denote the ranks for the flight attendants. Two silver sleeve stripes denote a Chief Purser. One silver sleeve stripe denote a Purser. Flight attendants do not have any sleeve stripes. Air France's current uniforms were created by French fashion designer Christian Lacroix.

Destinations

Air France is a full service global airline and flies to 20 domestic destinations and 150 international destinations in 83 countries (including Overseas departments and territories of France) across all 6 major continents. This includes Air France Cargo services and those destinations served by franchisees Airlinair, Brit Air, CityJet, CCM Airlines and Régional.

Most of Air France's international flights operate from Paris-Roissy Charles de Gaulle airportmarker. Air France also has a strong presence at Paris-Orly and Lyon-Saint-Exupéry airports. As Air France becomes more a strategic partner with Delta Air Lines through the SkyTeam alliance and through a substantial joint venture, new routes and code-share agreements are developing rapidly.

Fleet

Active Fleet

The Air France fleet consists of the following aircraft (at 1 November 2009):

Air France Passenger Fleet
Aircraft In Fleet Orders Option (aircraft purchasing)>Options Passengers
(First/Business/Premium Economy/Economy)
Notes
Airbus A318-100 18 0 0 123 (0/0/0/123)
Airbus A319-100 39 0 0 142 (0/0/0/142)
Airbus A319LR 6 0 0 79 (0/28/51/0) Dedicate services: Business & Premium Economy seating
Airbus A320-100 10 0 0 172 (0/0/0/172) To be replaced by Airbus A320-200
Airbus A320-200 56 10 10 165 (0/0/0/165)
Airbus A321-100 5 0 0 206 (0/0/0/206) To be replaced by Airbus A321-200
Airbus A321-200 17 5 0 200 (0/0/0/200)
Airbus A330-200 15 0 0 208 (0/40/21/147)
219 (0/40/0/179)
Airbus A340-300 18 0 0 261 (0/36/21/204)
272 (0/36/0/236)
275 (0/30/21/224)
291 (0/30/0/261)


Airbus A380-800 1 11 2 538 (9/80/0/449)
Boeing 747-400 12 0 0 436 (0/40/0/396) Exit from service: 2013
6 to be converted into Boeing 747-400BCF
Boeing 777-200ER 25 0 0 247 (4/49/24/170)
264 (4/49/0/211)
Boeing 777-300ER 30 12 0 303 (8/67/28/200)
325 (8/67/0/250)
472 (0/14/36/422)

Launch customer
Air France Cargo Fleet
Boeing 747-400BCF 4 6 0 Cargo All to be phased out
Boeing 747-400ERF 5 0 0 Cargo All to be phased out
Boeing 777F 2 3 3 Cargo All to be phased out
Total 263 47 15


The average fleet age of Air France is 9.4 years (at 1 November 2009).

Orders



  • On 24 May 2007, Air France announced it was planning to phase out its 747-400 aircraft by 2012, and placed an order for an additional 13 Boeing 777-300ERs and five Boeing 777-F units. The airline also converted options for two more A380-800s into firm orders. This will bring the total of these aircraft for Air France to 33 Boeing 777-300ERs, 10 Boeing 777-Fs, and 12 A380-800.
  • On 22 February 2005 Air France ordered a further four Boeing 777-300ERs, adding to 10 previously ordered (four delivered). The airline had previously ordered 18 Boeing 777-200ERs.
  • Air France signed as a launch customer for the Airbus A380-800 "superjumbo" in 2001. Air France has ordered 12 Airbus A380-800 aircraft, with options on a further two. Delivery will start in 2009. The A380-800 will be used from Parismarker to New Yorkmarker and Johannesburgmarker and as additional aircraft arrive, to Beijing and Tokyomarker. The first A380 was delivered on 30 October 2009, and will be used from Parismarker to New Yorkmarker *On 20 May 2005 Air France signed an agreement with Boeing to have three of its former Boeing 747-400 Combi aircraft - currently operated in all-passenger configuration - converted to the Boeing 747-400SF Special Freighter model. The modified aircraft will accelerate the phasing-out of the remaining, aging Boeing 747-200F freighters..
  • Air France has begun the process of removing the Boeing 747-400s from its fleet, in favour of the Boeing 777-300ER. A letter of intent has been signed for 6 747s to be purchased and converted to freighters and it hopes to have completely phased out all 747s by 2013.
  • On 23 May 2005 Air France agreed to buy five 777 Freighters (with three further options), making it the launch customer of the 777 Freighter. Air France took delivery of its first two 777 Freighters during February 2009.


Anniversary jet

On 14 November 2008, Air France released the first picture of an Airbus A320 with registration F-GFKJ that has been repainted in the full 1946 paint scheme to celebrate the airline's 75 years anniversary. This heritage aircraft is planned to fly under the special colours until Spring 2010.

Fleet history

Over the years, Air France operated the following aircraft types:

Air France Past Fleet
Aircraft Introduced Retired Notes
Airbus A300 1974 1998
Airbus A310 1984 2002
Airbus A318 2003
Airbus A319 1997
Airbus A320 1988
Airbus A321 1997
Airbus A330-200 2001
Airbus A340-200 1993 1999
Airbus A340-300 1993
Airbus A380 2009
Boeing 737-200 1973 2002
Boeing 737-300 1991 2004
Boeing 737-500 1990 2007
Boeing 747-100 1970 1995
Boeing 747-200 1974 2008 also used as cargo aircraft
Boeing 747-300 1991 2007
Boeing 747-400 1991
Boeing 767-300 1991 2003
Boeing 777-200 1998 also used as cargo aircraft
Boeing 777-300 2004
Concorde 1975 2003
Fokker 100 1997 1999 sold to Brit Air
Lockheed TriStar 1989 1991
McDonnell Douglas DC-10 1992 1995


Concorde

The five Air France Concordes were grounded on 31 May 2003, as a result of insufficient demand following the 2000 accident, as well as higher fuel and maintenance costs. However, it is widely believed that Air France chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta's fear of personal criminal liability in the event of another Concorde accident was the real reason. Airbus's subsequent decision to stop supporting the in-service Concorde fleet forced British Airways to retire its own fleet. The Airbus decision to end Concorde support came at an inopportune time for British Airways as it had just completed a refurbishment of the aircraft's interiors and invested in post-2000 crash modifications. British Airways flew its last Concorde service on 24 October 2003. Concorde F-BVFA was transferred to the Steven F.marker Udvar-Hazy Centermarker, an annexe of the National Air & Space Museummarker in Chantillymarker area of Fairfax Countymarker, Virginiamarker, United States, near Washington Dulles Airport. F-BVFB was given to Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museummarker in Germanymarker, F-BTSD to the Musée de l'Air et de l'Espacemarker in Paris, while F-BVFC returned to its place of manufacture in Toulousemarker at the Airbus factory. F-BVFF is the only example to remain at Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Cabin classes

Air France has three primary classes of international service: L'Espace Première (First), L'Espace Affaires (Business), and Tempo (Economy). European short-haul flights feature Tempo class service. For flights to the Caribbeanmarker and Indian Ocean, a premium economy class, Alizé, is also offered, and a Premium Tempo class has been announced for select international routes. Inflight entertainment via AVOD (Audio Video on Demand) is available in select cabins.
La Première (First) suites on a Boeing 777.
Affaires (Business) lie-flat seats.
Voyageur (Economy) cabin.


La Première

La Première (former L'Espace Première), Air France's long-haul first class product, is available on Airbus A380, Boeing 777-300ER, and Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. The La Première cabin features four to eight wood and leather seats which recline 180°, forming two-metre long beds. Each seat features a 10.4" touchscreen TV monitor with interactive gaming and AVOD, a privacy divider, automassage feature, reading light, storage drawer, noise-cancelling headphones, personal telephone, and laptop power ports. À la carte on-demand meal services feature entrées created by Chef Guy Martin. Turndown service includes a mattress, duvet and pillow. Private lounge access is offered worldwide.

Affaires

Affaires (former L'Espace Affaires), Air France's long-haul business class product, is available on Airbus A330, Airbus A340, Airbus A380, Boeing 747-400, Boeing 777-200ER, and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Affaires features lie-flat seats which recline to two metres in length. Each seat includes a 10.4" touchscreen TV monitor with interactive gaming and AVOD, reading light, personal telephone, and laptop power ports. Meal service features three-course meals and a cheese service, or an express menu served shortly after takeoff.

Alizé

Alizé is Air France's regional premium economy product for flights to the Caribbean and Indian Ocean (such as the Antilles, French Guianamarker, and Mauritiusmarker). On the Boeing 777-300ER, the Alizé cabin is located in front of the Voyageur cabin and features 36 seats. Alizé seats recline up to 123° and feature massaging foot rests. A pre-departure drink, enhanced meal service, and feather pillows and blankets are offered.

Premium Voyageur

This new class will be available on Boeing 777-300ER aircraft starting Autumn/Winter 2009/2010. Based on the concept of a premium economy cabin, it is said that it will incorporate all the amenities of standard Voyageur class but with a more spacious cabin, in a 2-4-2 configuration and a 38" pitch. It is expected for there to be about 32 of these new seats on the Boeing 777-300ER.

The Boeing 777-300ER flies to New York, Tokyo, Singapore, Beirut, Beijing, Hong Kong and Osaka.

Voyageur

Voyageur (former Tempo), Air France's economy class product, features seats that recline up to 118°. The latest long-haul Voyageur seat, which debuted on the Boeing 777-300ER, includes winged headrests, a personal telephone, and a touchscreen TV monitor with AVOD Interactive Entertainment System which are gradually being installed on all of Air France's longhaul aircraft except Boeing 747-400s. Short-haul Tempo services are operated by Airbus A320 family aircraft with different seating arrangements. Air France is one of the few airlines who features winged headrests on short-haul aircraft in both classes. On short haul flights, a three course cold meal is served. On long haul flights there is a choice between two main courses when available. Limited free alcoholic beverages are available on all flights. Tempo will be renamed as Voyageur with Air France's new image rebranding.

Services

In-flight catering

For its Première cabin, Air France's first class menu is designed by Guy Martin, chef of Le Grand Vefour, a Michelin three-star restaurant in Paris. Menu items include hors d’oeuvres, entreés, bread basket, and cheeses, along with a dessert cart including pastries, petit fours, and tartlets. Air France also serves complimentary champagne to passengers in all classes.

In-flight entertainment

Air France offers Audio Video on Demand (AVOD) in all classes on service on its A330, A340, A380 and 777 aircraft. The AVOD system features multiple channels of video, audio, music, and games. Première and Affaires passengers can start and stop programs, plus rewind and fast-forward as desired; in Voyageur class, the system may cycle between programs at a regular interval on all aircraft except Boeing 777-300ER. Some aircraft in Air France's 747 fleet do not have individual video screens in Voyageur class. Air France Magazine, the airline's in-flight publication, is included at each seat, and Air France Madame, a fashion luxury magazine with a feminine perspective, is included in Première and Affaires cabins and lounges.

Lounges

Air France Business Lounge at CDG Terminal 2E.
Air France lounges are open to Première and Affaires passengers, as well as Flying Blue Gold, Flying Blue Platinum, SkyTeam Elite Plus, or Club 2000 frequent flier program cardholders. Many airports feature SkyTeam lounges that are used by Air France and member airline partners.

Flying Blue

Flying Blue, the frequent flyer program of Air France-KLM, awards members points based on miles travelled and class of service. Membership into the program is free. The program is divided into standard (Ivory) and Elite (Silver, Gold and Platinum) statuses. Ivory is the basic level which is attained upon entry into the program. Elite status is attained by accruing a certain number of miles within one calendar year. Elite Silver, Elite Gold, and Elite Platinum cards have added benefits. Flying Blue succeeded Air France's previous frequent flyer program, Fréquence Plus, which operated until the Air France-KLM merger in 2003.

  • Ivory - Permanent status; accrues mileage on AF, KLM, and qualifying flights.
  • Silver (Elite) - 25,000 or more miles on 15 or more segments.
  • Gold (Elite) - 40,000 or more miles travelled on 30 or more level segments.
  • Platinum (Elite) - 70,000 or more miles travelled on 60 or more level segments.


For French and Monegasque residents, Elite thresholds are higher, at 30,000, 60,000, and 90,000 miles respectively.

Codeshare agreements

In addition to its Brit Air, CityJet and Régional subsidiaries, and its SkyTeam alliance partnership, Air France offers frequent flyer partnerships with approximately two-dozen airlines:
Air France e-check kiosks


Subsidiaries and franchises

In partnership with Dutch affiliate Transavia, Air France has launched a new low-cost subsidiary based at Orly airport. Operations began in May 2007 with flights to leisure destinations in the Mediterraneanmarker region and North Africa. It is operating four "Next Generation" Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Transavia has a 40% stake, with Air France holding the rest.

Airlinair, Brit Air, CityJet, CCM Airlines and Régional all operate flights on behalf of Air France, either as subsidiaries or as franchisees.

Rail ventures

Air France and Veolia are looking into jointly operating high-speed rail services in Europe. Routes will become available to operators in accordance with European rail liberalisation on 1 January 2010.

Head office

Air France's head office is located in the Roissypôle complex on the grounds of Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airportmarker and in the commune of Tremblay-en-France, Seine-Saint-Denismarker, near the city of Parismarker. The complex was completed in December 1995. The French firm Groupement d'Etudes et de Méthodes d'Ordonnancement (GEMO) managed the project. The architect was Valode et Pistre and the design consultants were and Sechaud-Boyssut and Trouvin. The project costed 137,000,000 euros.

For about 30 years prior to December 1995, Air France's headquarters were located in a tower adjacent to the Gare Montparnassemarker rail station in the Montparnassemarker area and the 15th arrondissement of Parismarker. By 1991 two bids for the purchase of the Square Max Hymans building had been made. After Air France moved to Tremblay-en-France, the former headquarters complex was sold.

In popular culture

Air France is the official airline of the Cannes Film Festivalmarker.

Air France has featured in Hollywoodmarker films. In the 1942 classic Casablanca, an Air France airliner, identifiable via its seahorse logo, featured prominently in the film's climactic last scene. The Air France aircraft was used to take Ingrid Bergman's character to freedom, as her former lover, played by Humphrey Bogart, watches. Additionally, the first in-flight movie was screened on board an Air France Lockheed Constellation in 1951 flying the New York to Paris route.

Incidents and accidents

In Air France's 70-year history, 13 of the reported accidents involved loss of life.

Selected accidents and major incidents:

1940s



1950s

  • On the nights of 12 and 14 June 1950, two Air France Douglas DC-4s (registration F-BBDE and F-BBDM, respectively) crashed into the sea off Bahrain while landing, with a combined loss of 86 lives. The first accident claimed the lives of 40 of the 53 occupants and the second 46 out of 52. Both aircraft had operated the Karachimarker, Pakistanmarker, to Bahrain portion of Air France's Saigonmarker, Indochina - Paris sector. The accident investigators concluded that the pilot in command did not maintain his correct altitude until the runway lights became visible during the approach to Bahrain in the first accident, and that the pilot in command did not keep an accurate check of his altitude and rate of descent during the approach procedure in the second accident.
  • On 3 February 1951, a Douglas DC-4 (registration F-BBDO) operating Air France's Doualamarker, Cameroonmarker, to Niameymarker, Nigermarker, sector hit the 13,354 feet high Cameroon Mountainmarker near Bouea, Cameroon, west of Douala, at a height of . The aircraft was destroyed, killing all 29 occupants. The mountain was probably only partially visible from the flight deck due to the mist surrounding it. Although the pilot immediately turned to the left, the plane hit the steeply rising terrain with its left wing. The accident investigators concluded that the crew followed an inaccurate procedure and relied on imprecise navigation. The investigators furthermore determined that the crew did not check the draft. Moreover, they cited the crew's error of judgement and over-confidence when flying over the mountain mass as additional contributory factors.
  • On 3 March 1952, a SNCASE Languedoc (registration F-BCUM) operating a passenger flight from Nice Le Var Airportmarker to Paris Le Bourget Airport crashed shortly after takeoff with the loss of all 38 lives on board. Soon after takeoff from Le Var Airport, the aircraft began banking to the left. This increased progressively until the aircraft flipped over on its back and crashed. The accident investigators attributed the accident to the aircraft's blocked ailerons to the left, as a result of a mechanical fault related to the design.
  • On 29 April 1952, a Douglas C-54A (registration F-BELI) operating a Germanmarker internal service from Frankfurt Rhein-Main Airportmarker to Berlin Tempelhof Airportmarker came under attack from two Sovietmarker MiG 15 fighters while passing through one of the Allied air corridors over East Germanymarker. Although the attack had severely damaged the plane, necessitating the shutdown of engines three and four, the pilot landed safely at West Berlin's Tempelhof Airport. An inspection of the aircraft at Tempelhof revealed that it had been hit by 89 shots fired from the Soviet MiGs during the air attack. There were no fatalities among the 17 occupants (six crew, eleven passengers). The Soviet military authorities defended this attack on a civilian aircraft by claiming the Air France plane was outside the air corridor at the time of attack.
  • On 1 September 1953, a Lockheed L-749A Constellation (registration F-BAZZ) operating the Paris-Nicemarker portion of a passenger flight to Hong Kongmarker crashed into Mount Cemet, France, with the loss of all 42 lives on board. The accident occurred while the flight deck crew was preparing to land at Nice's Côte d'Azur airport, the aircraft's first scheduled stop. The accident investigation established "controlled flight into terrain " as the cause.
  • ON 12 December 1956, a Vickers Viscount (registration F-BGNK) crashed at Dannemois, Île de Francemarker while on a training flight, killing all five crew on board.
  • On 8 April 1957, a Douglas C-47B (registration F-BEIK) operating an Algerianmarker passenger flight from Biskramarker lost height after takeoff and crashed a mile beyond the airport's runway with the loss of all 34 lives on board.
  • On 31 May 1958, a Douglas C-47A (registration F-BHKV) operating a non-scheduled Algerian passenger flight from Algiersmarker to Colomb-Béchard crashed near Molière with the loss of all 15 lives on board.


1960s

  • On 29 August 1960, a Lockheed L-1049G Super Constellation (registration F-BHBC) operating flight AF343 from Paris to Abidjanmarker via Dakarmarker, crashed into the sea with the loss of all 63 lives on board while the aircraft's flight deck crew made a second attempt to land at Dakar's Yoff Airportmarker.
  • On 10 May 1961, a Lockheed L-1649A Starliner (registration F-BHBM) operating the Fort Lamymarker (now N'Djamenamarker), Chadmarker, to Marseillemarker portion of Air France's Brazzavillemarker - Paris sector as flight AF406 crashed in the Sahara desert near Edjele, Algeriamarker, with the loss of all 78 lives on board. The aircraft was cruising at an altitude of when its empennage failed. This caused it to break up in flight and crash in the Sahara desert. The accident investigators believed that the empennage separated from the rest of the aircraft as a result of the detonation of a nitrocellulose explosive device.
  • On 12 September 1961, a Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III (registration F-BJTB) operating the Paris Orly-Rabatmarker-Casablancamarker sector as flight AF2005 crashed near Rabat's airport with the loss of all 77 lives on board. At the time of the accident meteorological conditions in the local area were thick, low fog. The poor weather conditions reduced horizontal visibility and ceiling. The pilot informed ATC that he wanted to attempt a break-through over the NDB. The aircraft was destroyed by fire when it impacted the ground, killing everyone on board. The accident investigators cited the commander's error in reading his instruments as the most likely cause.
  • On 3 June 1962, a chartered Boeing 707-328 (registration ), Chateau de Sully, flying from Orly Airport, Paris, France, to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airportmarker, crashed at Orly during takeoff. 130 out of 132 people on board were killed. Two flight attendants sitting in the rear section of the aircraft were saved. The investigation found a faulty servo motor, which had led to an improper (and non-adjustable) elevator trim. Brake marks measuring 1,500 feet (457 m) were found on the runway, indicating that the flight deck crew tried to abort takeoff. The aircraft rolled right while only seven feet (two m) from the ground, causing its right wing to hit the ground. It crashed 50 yards (45 m) from the runway and exploded. Of the passengers 106 were Atlanta art patrons who had finished a tour of European capitals. Ann Uhry Abrams, the author of Explosion at Orly: The True Account of the Disaster that Transformed Atlanta, described the incident as "Atlanta’s version of Sept. 11 in that the impact on the city in 1962 was comparable to New York of Sept. 11." This was the deadliest crash in Air France history until the crash of Air France Flight 447.
  • On 22 June 1962, Air France flight 117, operated with a Boeing 707-328 (registration F-BHST), crashed into a forest on a hill at an altitude of about during bad weather, while attempting to land at Point-à-Pitremarker in Guadeloupe, killing all 113 on board. The aircraft was attempting a non-precision NDB approach. A malfunctioning VOR station and poor NDB reception due to thunderstorms were blamed for the accident. The airframe had accumulated only 985 hours of flying at the time of the accident.
  • On 6 March 1968, a Boeing 707-328C (registration F-BLCJ) operating the Caracasmarker-Point-à-Pitre sector of Air France flight 212 hit the southern slope of La Soufrière Mountain at an altitude of 3,937 feet, 27.5 km SSW of Le Raizet Airportmarker with the loss of all 63 lives on board. When ATC had cleared the flight deck crew for a visual approach to Le Raizet's runway 11, the crew had reported the airfield in sight. Flight 212 started to descend from FL90 and passed Saint Claudemarker at an altitude of about . The accident investigators cited the probable cause as a visual approach procedure at night in which the descent was begun from an incorrectly identified point. Charlie Juliet had flown for 33 hours since coming off the Boeing production line, and was on her second revenue service (her maiden passenger flight was the previous day's outbound journey from Paris). After that crash Air France pilots criticized under-developed airports with facilities that were ill-equipped to handle jet aircraft, such as Guadeloupe's airport.
  • On 11 September 1968, a Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III (registration F-BOHB) operating the Ajacciomarker, Corsica - Nice sector as flight AF1611 crashed into the sea near Cap d'Antibesmarker off Nice with the loss of all 95 lives on board. The accident occurred while the flight deck crew attempted an emergency landing at Côte d'Azur Airport, following the detection of a fire in the aircraft's rear cabin 21 minutes after takeoff from Ajaccio. The accident investigators believed that the fire had started in the right lavatory and galley area.
  • On 4 December 1969, a Boeing 707-328B (registration F-BHSZ) operating the Caracasmarker-Point-à-Pitre sector of Air France flight 212 crashed into the sea shortly after takeoff from Simon Bolivar International Airport with the loss of all 62 on board.


1970s

  • On 12 June 1975, a Boeing 747-128 (registration N28888) operating the sector between Bombaymarker (now Mumbaimarker), and Tel Avivmarker, of flight AF193 to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airportmarker was destroyed by fire on the ground at Bombay's Santa Cruz Airportmarker, following an aborted takeoff. The aircraft's tire on its right-hand main undercarriage had failed while the flight deck crew was executing a 180 degree turn at the beginning of Santa Cruz Airport's runway 27. When the flight deck crew began its takeoff run, another tire failed. At that point the plane's wheels and braking assembly came into contact with the runway, starting a fire. The crew aborted takeoff. The ensuing delay in shutting down the engines, as well as the improper deployment of the airport's fire service, caused the fire to spread, leading to the plane's total destruction. There were no fatalities among the 394 occupants (18 crew and 376 passengers).
  • Operation Entebbe: On 27 June 1976, an Airbus A300 (registration F-BVGG) operating flight AF139 from Tel Avivmarker to Parismarker via Athensmarker was hijacked shortly after departing Athens. After refuelling in Benghazimarker, Libyamarker, the hijackers demanded it be flown to Entebbemarker, Uganda. One hostage was freed in Benghazi and in Uganda another 155 non-Israeli and/or non-Jewish hostages were released. The flight crew remained with the hostages after Captain Bacos insisted he was responsible for them. After several days of negotiating and diplomatic interventions, Israel launched a commando raid into Entebbe to free them. During the assault all six of the hijackers were killed as were three hostages. The leader of the assault was also killed. One hostage was unaccounted for. She had been taken to Mulago Hospital prior to the assault and later killed on Idi Amin's orders.


1980s

  • On 18 January 1984, an explosion in the cargo hold of a Boeing 747 en route from Karachi, Pakistan, to Dhahranmarker, Saudi Arabia, shortly after departing Karachi blew a hole in the right rear cargo hold. The resulting loss of cabin pressure necessitated an immediate descent to . The aircraft returned to Karachi without any fatalities among the 261 occupants (15 crew and 246 passengers).
  • On 26 June 1988, Air France Flight 296marker, Airbus A320-111 (registration F-GFKC) crashed near Mulhouse-Habsheim Airportmarker, in the Franco-German border region of Alsacemarker. The accident occurred during an airshow while the flight deck crew was performing a flypast at low height and speed. The aircraft overflew the airfield in good weather. Seconds later the aircraft struck treetops behind the runway and crashed into a forest, as a result of flying too low and too slowly. Three passengers died and about 50 were injured.


1990s

  • On 24 December 1994, Air France Flight 8969, an Airbus A300B2-1C (registration F-GBEC) was hijacked at Houari Boumedienne Airportmarker in Algiersmarker, by four terrorists who belonged to the Armed Islamic Group. The terrorists apparently intended to crash the plane over the Eiffel Towermarker on Boxing Day. After a failed attempt to leave Marseillemarker following a confrontational firefight between the terrorists and the GIGN French Special Forces, the result was the death of all four terrorists. (Snipers on the terminal front's roof shot dead two of the terrorists. The other two terrorists died as a result of gunshots in the cabin after approximately 20 minutes.) Three hostages including a Vietnamese diplomat were executed, 229 hostages survived, many of them wounded by shrapnel. The almost 15-year-old aircraft was written off.
  • On 5 September 1996, turbulence caused injuries to three passengers on a Boeing 747 in mid-air near Ouagadougoumarker, Burkina Fasomarker. One died later from injuries received from an in-flight film projection screen.
  • On 20 April 1998, the Air France flight from Bogotámarker's El Dorado Airportmarker, to Quitomarker, using an aircraft leased from TAME and flown by Ecuadorian crew, crashed into a mountain near Bogotá. All 43 passengers and 10 crew died.
  • On 5 March 1999, an ex-UTA Boeing 747-2B3F (SCD) freighter (registration F-GPAN) carrying a revenue load of 66 tons of cargo on flight 6745 from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Madras Meenambakkammarker, India, via Karachimarker, Pakistan and Bangalore HAL Airportmarker, India, crash-landed, caught fire and burned out. Meenambakkam ATC had cleared the aircraft for an ILS approach to the airport's runway 07. The crew abandoned the approach due to technical difficulties. The aircraft circled to attempt a second approach. At the end of the second approach, the aircraft's nose struck the runway while touching down because its nose gear was either not down or not locked. The plane skidded and came to rest down the 13,050 ft. runway. After it had come to a standstill, the crew noticed smoke on the flight deck and began to extinguish the flames. Soon after, flames erupted in the aircraft's front section. One crew member managed to escape from the flight deck via a rope ladder. The remaining four crew members were rescued by the airport fire service from the rear, before the flames engulfed the entire aircraft. The fire service was unable to extinguish the fire and the aircraft burned out.


2000s

  • On 25 July 2000, Air France Flight 4590marker, a Concorde (registration F-BTSC) charter departing from De Gaulle airport in Paris bound for New York's JFK Airport crashed into a hotel just after takeoff in Gonessemarker, France. All 109 people on board died, along with four people on the ground. According to the accident investigation report, the probable cause was the destruction of one of the aircraft's main wheel tires, as a result of passing at high speed over a part lost by a pre-departing Continental Airlines DC-10 during the takeoff run. The piercing of one of the fuel tanks by a piece of the exploding tire ignited the leaking jet fuel and caused a loss of thrust in engine number one and two in quick succession.
  • On 2 August 2005, Air France Flight 358marker, an Airbus A340-300 (registration F-GLZQ) overshot the runway at Toronto Pearson International Airportmarker during a thunderstorm. The plane continued for 300 metres before coming to rest at the bottom of a ravine at the end of the runway adjacent to Highway 401. All 297 passengers and 12 crew survived but the plane was completely destroyed by fire. The investigation predominately blamed pilot error when faced with the severe weather conditions. Class action lawsuits over the incident are ongoing.
  • On 1 June 2009, Air France Flight 447marker, an Airbus A330-203 (registration F-GZCP) from Rio de Janeiromarker to Paris with 228 people onboard lost contact with air traffic control while over the Atlantic Oceanmarker, 300 km (186 miles) north-east of the Brazilian city of Natalmarker. All passengers and crew members were killed in the crash.


Hijackings

Air France has been the target of several hijackings, which are listed in time order:-

References

Notes

  1. Régional (Compagnie Aérienne Européenne), Company Profile
  2. Ordonnance n°45-1403 du 26 juin 1945 portant nationalisation des transports aériens
  3. Air France (Airline, France)
  4. M.R. Golder, The Changing Nature of French Dirigisme - A Case Study of Air France. Thesis submitted at Trinity College, Oxford, 1997, p.28
  5. World Airline Directory. Flight International. March 20, 1975. " 466.
  6. Airliners.net
  7. "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 30 March 1985. 42." Retrieved on 17 June 2009.
  8. Answers.com (Business and Finance) - Chargeurs International
  9. FT.com/Business Life, The Monday Interview, 30 September 2007 - Pilot who found the right trajectory
  10. The New York Times, 31 August 1994, Air France's New Adviser
  11. Business Wire, 16 January 1996 - Statement from Air France Group Chairman regarding Stephen M. Wolf
  12. AIR FRANCE - KLM Company Profile Yahoo! Finance
  13. Financial Times, 17 October 2007 - Air France and Delta target London
  14. Airwise, 17 October 2007 - Air France And Delta Set Transatlantic Venture
  15. Pegasus a la Francaise
  16. Air France's Hippocampe and BOAC's Speedbird: the semiotic status of logos
  17. Air France Fleet Information
  18. A modern and rationalized fleet
  19. Air France Fleet Age
  20. Air France To Retire Boeing 747 Fleet (Flight Global: 24 May 2007)
  21. ASIATravelTips.com, 18 June 2001 - Air France confirms major A380 order
  22. Air International (July 2005)
  23. DVB to acquire six Air France Boeing 747-400s Flight Global, 5 February 2008
  24. [1] Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 20 February 2009
  25. Airliners.net F-GFKJ retrojet
  26. Air France historic fleet at airfleets.ner. Retrieved 2009-11-20.
  27. The Betrayal Of Concorde By Donald L. Pevsner
  28. Air France - On Board
  29. Air France reçoit son 50e Boeing 777 et lance une Tempo premium
  30. Forbes - First-Class Chefs Take Flight
  31. There is such thing as a good airline meal
  32. Air France Airline Information
  33. Echo Media - Air France Madame
  34. Air France Flying Blue
  35. Air France Flying Blue membership thresholds
  36. Airliner World (January 2007)
  37. Air France, Veolia plan high-speed rail venture (Reuters, 2008-09-08)
  38. " Head Office,Air France. Retrieved on 18 May 2009.
  39. " Plan interactif." Tremblay-en-France. Retrieved on 20 September 2009.
  40. " AIR FRANCE HEAD QUARTERS - ROISSYPOLE." Groupement d'Etudes et de Méthodes d'Ordonnancement (GEMO). Retrieved on 20 September 2009.
  41. " Air France." Tremblay-en-France. Retrieved on 20 September 2009.
  42. " Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle." Tremblay-en-France. Retrieved on 20 September 2009.
  43. Mlekuz, Nathalie. " Air France vole vers ses avions, destination Roissy." Le Monde. 2 April 1997. Retrieved on 22 September 2009. "Situé pendant plus de trente ans dans une des tours au-dessus de la gare Montparnasse, le siège d'Air France se trouve désormais près de l'aéroport de Roissy."
  44. " Deux offres pour l'achat du siège d'Air France." Les Echos. 25 September 1991. Page 12. Retrieved on 26 November 2009.
  45. " Air France à Roissy: le décollage du siège social." Les Echos. 1 June 1995. Page 32. Retrieved on 22 September 2009. "au terme d'un transfert rigoureusement planifié par la vente de l'ancien siège de Montparnasse."
  46. Air France Reaching for the Stars
  47. Record of Air France accidents/incidents at the ASN Aviation Safety Database
  48. Gabler, Neal, Walt Disney, 2007, p.472
  49. [2]
  50. [3] [4] [5]
  51. [6]
  52. [7]
  53. [8]
  54. [9]
  55. [10]
  56. [11]
  57. [12]
  58. [13]
  59. [14]
  60. [15]
  61. Morris, Mike. " Air France crash recalls ‘62 Orly tragedy." Atlanta Journal Constitution. Tuesday 2 June 2009. Retrieved on 2 June 2009.
  62. [16] [17]
  63. [18]
  64. " Boeing Crash Pilot's Alleged Protest Before Flight." The Times. Monday July 2, 1962. 10.
  65. [19]
  66. [20]
  67. [21]
  68. [22]
  69. ASN Aircraft accident description Airbus A320-111 F-GFKC - Mulhouse-Habsheim
  70. [23]
  71. [24]
  72. [25]
  73. [26]
  74. Boeing's workhorse
  75. ASN Aircraft accident description Aérospatiale / BAC Concorde 101 F-BTSC - Gonesse


Bibliography



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