I would have missed the fact that Air France turned 80 yesterday if I hadn’t been watching Bloomberg, where they were discussing the airlines’ latest lay offs and past.
Air France was formed on October 7, 1933, by merging Air Orient, Air Union, Société Générale de Transports Aériens, the CIDNA and Aéropostale.
The KLM, part of the Air France-KLM Group, traces its roots all the way back 1919 and is considered the worlds oldest operating airline that will turn to 100 years old in just 6 years time.
Air France has made a dedicated video about the 80 years that is fun to watch.
There is also a dedicated website 80years.airfrance.com, where you can browse some photos from the golden age of flying.
First class on Boeing 747 in 1988
First class on Being 747 in 1969
Dining (economy?) on Lockheed Super Constellation.
Here’s Air France’s press release about turning 80:
On 7 October 1933 at 4pm, Air France was officially inaugurated at La Bourget airport, by the Air Transport Minister Pierre Cot. The new airline was formed from the merger of Air Orient, Air Union, Société Générale de Transports Aériens, the CIDNA and Aéropostale.
Since the days of its first commercial flights, Air France has made comfort and service on board one of its priorities. Over time, the greatest artists, the most prestigious designers and the most famous chefs have contributed to making Air France and French culture famous all over the world.
Today, Air France is kicking off a year of anniversary celebrations marked by numerous events for the Company’s staff and customers. This is the occasion to retrace 80 years of creativity and the art of receiving at the service of travellers, as well as stories of elegance, film, design and innovations.
Dedicated events for staff
Air France wishes to place its staff at the heart of this anniversary year. The in-house newsletter, radio and intranet are all adopting the Air France colours. A “The sky, our passion” exhibition is being inaugurated at the Air France head office, and will then go on tour within the Company.
Two aircraft sporting the 80th anniversary logo
In partnership with Airbus, an Airbus A380 with an 80th anniversary logo will fly to Johannesburg tonight. An Airbus A320 will sport the same logo shortly. They will keep this special livery for one year.
Lots of surprises for customers
On board, in a special October issue, Air France Magazine retraces ’80 years of Air France’, from 1933 to the present day. The magazine has articles on its cultural history: a ‘graphic journey’ with its posters, ‘the colours of the sky’ used by artists, ‘style icons’ with its elegant uniforms and the ‘Air France brand’ with its lounges, ticket offices, etc.
As an added extra, an exclusive short story by David Foenkinos entitled ‘Before Alice’. Throughout this anniversary year, a famous writer will publish every month a short story for Air France Magazine readers on the theme of travel. A collection of these stories will be published in autumn 2014.
Throughout the year, products customized in the 80th anniversary colours will be offered to customers: paper menus, oshibori, amenity kits, cups, in-flight entertainment, etc.
– A website devoted to Air France’s 80th anniversary tells the story of 80 years of passion: network, professions, design and customers, illustrated by many photos and videos. 80years.airfrance.com.
– A line of 80th anniversary-branded products will be available on the AF Shopping site and through in-flight sales; watch, Moleskine notebook, baggage label, etc. shopping.airfrance.com.
It is interesting that Air France doesn’t trace its beginning to the formation of one of the four founding airlines. It has certainly been a rocky ride, but doubt that Air France would disappear anytime soon, although it is going through some difficulties presently.
If you have chance to visit the Air France-KLM SkyTeam lounge at the Bangkok airport, they have remakes of old posters from Air France’s past and you should have a look at them.