Air France

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Air France
Air France logo
Air France Boeing 787-900
IATA code : AF
ICAO code : AFR
Call sign : AIRFRANS
Founding: 1933
Seat: Paris , FranceFranceFrance 
Turnstile :

Home airport : Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle
Company form: SA
IATA prefix code : 057
Management: FranceFrance Anne Rigail ( CEO )
Number of employees: 48,124
(2018; Air France only)
(2018; with subsidiaries)
Sales: 26.1 billion (2015; including KLM )
Balance sheet total: € 23.3 billion (2015; including KLM)
Passenger volume: 50.5 million (2015)
Alliance : SkyTeam
Frequent Flyer Program : Flying Blue
Fleet size: 213 (+ 95 orders)
Aims: National and international

Air France , based in Paris and based at Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle Airport, is the national airline of France. It is a founding member of the SkyTeam aviation alliance and is jointly held by the listed Air France-KLM together with the Dutch KLM Royal Dutch Airlines .


Air France's Sud-Est SE.161 in 1952

Foundation and first years

Air France was created through a merger in 1933 . In 1909 the Compagnie Générale Transaérienne was founded, which started air traffic in Paris with airships . From 1918, the Lignes Latécoère carried out postal flights. Also in the same year new passenger airlines emerged with Aéronavale, Messageries Aériennes, Grands Express Aériens, Lignes Farman and Messageries Trans-aériennes . In 1920 the Compagnie de Navigation Franco-Roumaine was founded. In 1921 the first merger took place, the Compagnie Générale Transaérienne was taken over by Messageries Aériennes; more followed in 1923, when Messageries Aériennes and Grands Express Aériens became Air Union . This trend continued, in 1926 L'Aéronavale was taken over by Air Union and Aéropostale became the successor to Lignes Latécorère.

In 1933 Air Orient, Air Union, Société Générale de Transport Aérien (formerly Lignes Farman) and CIDNA merged to form the Société Centrale pour l'Exploitation de Lignes Aériennes (SCELA). After the bankrupt Aéropostale was taken over in August 1933, the company was renamed Air France and the official presentation took place on October 7, 1933 at Le Bourget airport near Paris. She took over the airline's symbol, a winged seahorse , and the business premises in Paris' Rue Marbeuf from Air Orient .

Up until the Second World War, there were Air France and its subsidiary Air France Transatlantique with Aéromaritime and Air Afrique , which both served Africa, and the air mail company Air Bleu, three other French airlines.

On May 10, 1940, the Wehrmacht began the western campaign ; on June 22, France signed the Compiegne surrender-like armistice . He ended the Third French Republic and the Vichy regime came into being. The Air France planes came to the German Lufthansa . The only concession was that Adolf Hitler left the internal conditions of the French colonies untouched, as they did not seem to play a military role.

post war period

Air France's
Sud Aviation Caravelle in 1963

Under Charles de Gaulle , the Lignes Aériennes Militaires (LAM) were created in Damascus to connect the unoccupied territories of France. In 1945 the LAM became the Réseau des Lignes Aériennes Françaises (RLAF) . On June 26, 1945, the previously private Air France was nationalized and responsible for all French air traffic; on December 29, the RLAF ended their activities. Air France became a member of IATA .

The French government allowed the establishment of the private companies TAI (Transports Aériens Intercontinentaux) in 1946 and the SATI in 1948. In 1949 this was renamed 'Union Aéromaritime de Transport' (UAT) . On November 12, 1954, Air Inter was founded as a domestic airline. The shareholders included Air France and the national railway SNCF . UTA was created through the merger of TAI and UAT, the new company was able to take over various lucrative routes from Air France after a redistribution of the concessions by the French government.

On March 14, 1969 Air France, founded Alitalia , Lufthansa and Sabena , the ATLAS Consortium for the training, operating and maintenance costs with the introduction of the ordered widebody aircraft of the type Boeing 747 be kept as low as possible. Among other things, the companies divided up the maintenance work and the procurement of spare parts and set uniform standards for the components used.

Development from the 1980s

Logo until 2009
Air France's
Concorde in 1977

In 1988, at the initiative of Lufthansa, Air France founded EuroBerlin France , in which Lufthansa was involved, in order to gain access to West Berlin . After the German reunification, the company stopped its services again in 1992. During the aviation crisis in the early 1990s, consolidation began on the French market. On January 12, 1990 Air France participated in the Union de Transports Aériens and its subsidiary Aéromaritime . Together with Air Inter and Air Charter they formed the “Groupe Air France”. In 1992, UTA was completely taken over by Air France, the new company thereby also owned the majority of Air Inter shares.

Air Inter went to Air France on September 12, 1997 after restructuring measures. British Airways and later Swissair tried to compete with Air France in France with the companies TAT, AOM and Air Liberté , but failed and withdrew again.

On June 3, 1998 Air France lost the designation " State Company ", since February 22, 1999 it has been traded on the stock exchange. 72% of employees hold shares in their company. In June 1999, Air France and the US decided Delta Air Lines a long-term partnership and founded on June 22, along with Korean Air and Aeromexico , the airline alliance " SkyTeam ", were included in the later further airlines.

Boeing 737-500 of Air France in 2001, the type was used until 2007

Air France since merging with KLM

In May 2004 Air France took over the Dutch airline KLM Royal Dutch Airlines via a share swap. Until 2008, both lines had to be run as independent companies for legal reasons. The merged company was the largest airline in Europe at the time of the merger and the largest airline in the world in terms of revenue; the joint holding company Air France-KLM has since been listed on the stock exchange; at the same time, the merger reduced the French state's stake to below 50%; the brand and the air line Air France were subsequently branched out. KLM and Air France will keep their independent brands until further notice and will cooperate a. via SkyTeam.

As a result of the global economic crisis that began in 2007 , Air France fell into the red for the first time since taking over KLM. A loss of 814 million euros was posted for the 2008/2009 financial year.

Air France Airbus A320-200 in retro livery

In September 2011 Air France-KLM announced a bulk order for up to 110 long-haul Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft . On January 10, 2012, Boeing announced a firm order for 25 787-9s from Air France-KLM with an option for 25 more machines. At the beginning of 2012, Air France decided on a program called Transform 2015 , which aims to save two billion euros within three years . 5,000 jobs are to be cut in this period. In 2012 Air France made a net loss of just under 1.2 billion euros. In the first quarter of 2013 Air France posted a further loss of 530 million euros.

In June 2013, Air France-KLM ordered 25 Airbus A350-900s with a list price of 7.2 billion US dollars including a further 25 options. The aircraft are to be used in scheduled operations by Air France from 2017, and later also by KLM. On October 31, 2013, Air France announced that the last two orders for the Airbus A380 may be converted into other orders. On March 17, 2016, Air France had the last two A380-800s rewritten to three more A350-900s. On January 14, 2016, Air France said goodbye to its last two Boeing 747-400s with panoramic flights with flight numbers AF744 and AF747 . The aircraft were then exhibited in front of the Musée de l'air et de l'espace at Le Bourget Airport on January 16 and 17, 2016 . On January 28, 2016, the last 747 flew in formation with the Patrouille de France . Line service ended already on 11 January 2016, a flight from Mexico City airport to Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle . The company had operated the 747 in several variants since the summer of 1970. The freight version 747-400F had been retired some time before.

Female Air France employees were informed in an internal letter that in future they will have to wear “trousers and a loose-fitting jacket” on flights to Tehran and that their hair will be covered with a headscarf when leaving the aircraft. This regulation already applies to flights to some other countries, including Saudi Arabia . After trade union protests, Air France wants to introduce an exemption, in which female staff who do not want to wear a headscarf are assigned to other flights. A gay Air France steward also called for homosexual employees not to be used on flights to Iran , because there is a death penalty for homosexuality (74 lashes for minors).

From 2019, Air France planned to significantly reduce its Airbus A380 fleet from ten to five aircraft, eventually leading to a complete retirement by the end of 2022.

As the start of retirement, the Airbus A380 F-HPJB was parked at Knock Airport ( Ireland ) on February 20, 2020 . The machine, which was only 10 years old, was sold to the owner and lessor Dr. Peters Group (Dortmund) returned. In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic , the decommissioning was completed on June 26, 2020 with a farewell flight.

Subsidiaries and investments


Economy class on board an Air France Airbus A380-800
Business class on board an Air France Airbus A380-800

In the 1990s, the French government passed laws to protect smaller regional airlines, which means that Air France is still banned from operating aircraft with fewer than 100 seats. Instead, these are operated by partner companies that have since been bought by Air France and whose aircraft usually have Air France livery. The Irish CityJet and Brit Air , based in Brittany , were 100% owned by Air France, as was Régional , which was formed in 2001 from the merger of Flandre Air, Proteus Airlines and Regional Airlines. CityJet was sold to the German Intro Aviation in April 2014 .

Until 2016, the range of Régional, Brit Air and Airlinair was gradually expanded under the Hop! merged. At the beginning of 2019, this was renamed Air France HOP and thus more closely based on the market presence of the parent company.

Other companies

The Air France Group is the owner of the consultancy "Air France Consulting", the customer card provider "Frequence Plus" and the holding company "Air France Finance" as well as the repair and maintenance companies "Air France Industries" and Société de Construction et de Réparation de Matériel Aéronautique ( "CRMA" for short) The company "Servair" (not to be confused with its competitor Servisair ) mainly offers aircraft menus, passenger handling and aircraft cleaning, Air France has an 88.03% stake in them. The French branch of the booking system "Amadeus" is 66% owned by Air France. "Sodexi", 60% owned by Air France, specializes in express freight.


Countries served by Air France

Air France serves numerous destinations in Europe , Africa , North , Central and South America and Asia from its hubs in Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle and Paris-Orly .

In the German-speaking area , Berlin , Bremen , Düsseldorf , Frankfurt , Hamburg , Hanover , Munich , Nuremberg and Stuttgart are served in Germany. Further destinations are Vienna in Austria and Geneva and Zurich in Switzerland.

Code sharing

Air France also works with 50 codeshare partners , mainly members of the SkyTeam . In addition, agreements have been concluded with airlines from other aviation alliances and independent companies.


Air France Airbus A318-100
Air France Airbus A321-200
Air France Airbus A330-200
Air France Boeing 777-200ER

Air France

Former Air France Airbus A380-800

As of June 2020, Air France's fleet consists of 219 aircraft with an average age of 14.2 years:

Aircraft type number ordered Remarks Seats
( First / Business / Eco + / Eco )
Average age

(June 2020)

Airbus A220-300 60 Delivery probably from September 2021; to replace Airbus A318-100 and A319-100 ; +30 options and +30 purchase rights 149 (distribution open)
Airbus A318-100 18th be Airbus A220-300 replaced 122 (- / 18 / - / 104) 15.1 years
Airbus A319-100 33 will be replaced by Airbus A220-300 142 (- / - / - / 142)
143 (- / - / - / 143)
19.0 years
Airbus A320-200 44 6 with Sharklets equipped 148 (- / 4 / - / 144)

174 (- / - / - / 174)
178 (- / - / - / 178)

10.7 years
Airbus A321-100 5 212 (- / - / - / 212) 25.5 years
Airbus A321-200 15th 200 (- / - / - / 200)
212 (- / - / - / 212)
14.9 years
Airbus A330-200 15th will all be converted to 224 seats 208 (- / 40/21/147)

224 (- / 36/21/167)

17.6 years
Airbus A350-900 4th 34 Delivery since 2019; eight orders were transferred from KLM to Air France; 10 more orders 324 (- / 34/24/266) 0.6 years
Boeing 777-200ER 25th older aircraft by the Airbus A350-900 replaced 280 (- / 40/24/216)
309 (- / 35/24/250)
312 (- / 28/24/260)
316 (- / 16/24/276)
20.0 years
Boeing 777F 2 Cargo aircraft of Air France Cargo - 11.6 years
Boeing 777-300ER 43 Air France is the launch customer of the 777-300ER 296 (4/58/28/206)
322 (4/38/28/252)
381 (- / 42/24/315)
468 (- / 14/32/422 )
11.8 years
Boeing 787-9 9 1 Delivery by May 2020 276 (- / 30/21/225) 2.3 years
total 213 95 14.2 years

Subsidiaries and Franchises

As of March 2020
airline number ordered Remarks
Air Corsica 12 Franchise company
Air France HOP 69 1
total 81 1
Breguet Br. 763 Deux Ponts of Air France, Berlin-Tempelhof 1966
Lockheed L-1049G Super Constellation of Air France, Berlin-Tempelhof 1966

Former aircraft types

Air France's Transall C-160P in 1980

Air France has operated a large number of different types of aircraft in its long history:

Some additional information as an example:

A Bae 146-200 operated by CityJet for Air France in 1999
A Fokker 100 operated by Brit Air in 2010
  • Boeing 737 : Air France made its last Boeing 737 scheduled flight on June 11, 2007. This led from Turin to Paris-Charles de Gaulle and carried the flight number AF1703 . The flight was carried out by a 737-500 with the aircraft registration F-GJND , which had been delivered to Air France in December 1991 and had completed more than 34,300 flight hours with Air France. The Air France 737 fleet manager sat in the cockpit.
  • Boeing 747-200 : At the end of June 2005, Air France retired the last Boeing 747-200. The last machine only served the route between Paris-Orly and Saint-Denis on Réunion . At the end of 2007, the freight version of the -200 was also retired.
  • Boeing 747-300 : The last four Boeing 747-300s were retired in late summer 2006. Most recently, these only flew between Paris-Orly and Guadeloupe and Martinique .
  • Concorde : From 1976 to summer 2003, Air France operated five Concorde whose flight connections were discontinued due to the recent weak demand and high maintenance costs.
  • Up until spring 2018, BAe 146 jets in the Air France colors could also be seen. These aircraft were operated by CityJet or WDL Aviation , while the Fokker 100s , which can also be seen until early 2018 , were operated by Brit Air or Trade Air .


From its inception to October 2017, Air France recorded a total of 112 total aircraft losses. In 65 of them, a total of 1751 fatalities were mourned. Some of the accidents are shown here as examples:


  • On October 31, 1945, the propeller of the left engine No. 3 on a large Air France Latécoère 631 ( aircraft registration F-BANT ) in the Laguna de Rocha (Uruguay) broke open and slit the fuselage to a length of almost 3 m. Two passengers were killed in the process. Since a small fire broke out, an emergency landing was carried out in the lagoon.
  • On September 3, 1946, a Douglas DC-3A of Air France (F-BAOB) crashed about 40 km southwest of it at Køge after taking off from Copenhagen Airport . All 22 occupants, 5 crew members and 17 passengers were killed. The cause is assumed to be a fuel leak that led to an engine fire.
  • On September 4, 1946, just one day later, a Douglas DC-3D of Air France (F-BAXD) crashed after taking off from Le Bourget airport a few kilometers away in a factory in Le Blanc-Mesnil . Of the 26 occupants, 4 crew members and 15 passengers as well as one person were killed on the ground.
  • On February 1, 1947, a Douglas DC-3C of Air France (F-BAXQ) collided near Peninha with the Serra de Sintra range of hills 28 kilometers west of the destination airport Lisbon-Portela . The aircraft, which took off from Bordeaux-Mérignac airport , was approaching for landing when the accident occurred in bad weather and darkness. Of the 16 occupants, 15 were killed, all 5 crew members and 10 of the 11 passengers.
  • On 12 June 1950, from flying Karachi next Douglas DC-4-1009 Air France (F-BBDE) on approach to the airport Bahrain 5.5 km from the destination airport into the water. Of the 52 inmates, 46 were killed. Pilot fatigue was found to be a contributing factor in the accident.
  • On 14 June 1950, further from flying Karachi next Douglas DC-4-1009 Air France (F-BBDM) on approach to the airport Bahrain into the water, only 1600 meters from the accident two days earlier crashed machine. Of the 53 inmates, 40 were killed. The lack of equipment at Bahrain Airport with suitable night flight lights and radio navigation aids was stated as contributing accident factors.
  • On February 3, 1951, an Air France (F-BBDO) Douglas DC-4-1009 flew into a mountain near Buea , Cameroon at an altitude of 2,600 meters. The machine was on its way from Douala to Niamey . All 23 passengers and six crew members died.
  • On August 11, 1951, an Air France Douglas DC-3D (F-BAXB) broke apart in the air on a test flight from Le Bourget Airport near Moisville . All five crew members died.
  • On January 2, 1952, an Air France (F-BAMQ) Amiot AAC.1 had an accident near Andapa ( Madagascar ). Of the eleven occupants (eight passengers and three crew members), 3 passengers and all three crew members were killed.
  • On March 3, 1952, a Sud-Est SE.161 Languedoc (F-BCUM) turned to the left immediately after taking off from Nice Airport and assumed an ever-increasing incline . Eventually she rolled over on her back and crashed about a kilometer north of the airport. The cause was determined to be a blocked aileron , which was caused by a jumped control chain on the captain's control column. This structure of the control was found to be a design flaw. In this worst Languedoc accident, all four crew members and 34 passengers were killed.
  • On September 1, 1953, a Lockheed L-749 Constellation (F-BAZZ) crashed on the flight from Paris to Nice on Mont Cimet, about 80 kilometers northwest of Nice. All 42 occupants were killed (see also Air France flight 178 ) .
  • On December 12, 1956, an Air France (F-BGNK) Vickers Viscount 708 launched in Paris-Orly crashed on a training flight to Reims from an altitude of 900 to 1500 meters near Dannemois . Loss of control for an unknown reason is suspected as the cause of the accident. All 5 crew members were killed.
  • On May 10, 1961, a Lockheed L-1649 Starliner (F-BHBM) crashed on the flight from Fort Lamy to Marseille about 100 km north of Edjele, Algeria , probably after an explosive attack over the Sahara . The rear of the machine was found 1.5 kilometers from the main wreck. All 78 people on board died.
  • On July 27, 1961 a Boeing 707-328 of Air France (F-BHSA) landed on the flight from Paris-Orly via Hamburg to Anchorage and Tokyo, initially at Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel airport . During the later take-off, the captain noticed that the aircraft was pulling to one side. He then aborted the start, the machine came off the runway while coasting and rolled into an adjacent depression. The landing gear and several engines tore off and the fuselage broke into three parts. The machine was only two years old and had to be written off. All 41 people on board survived the accident.
  • On September 12, 1961, the pilots of a Sud Aviation Caravelle III of Air France (F-BJTB) initiated the descent four kilometers too early on the flight from Paris-Orly to Rabat ( Morocco ). The machine hit a hill and went up in flames. All 77 inmates died. The contributing factor was the unergonomic design of the Kollsman altimeter installed in the Caravelle.
  • On June 3, 1962, an Air France (F-BHSM) Boeing 707-328B was completely destroyed in an unsuccessful abortion at Paris-Orly airport , which was on the flight to New York-Idlewild . When reaching take-off speed, the pilots were unable to pull the elevator far enough for take-off, which is why the captain had to abort the take-off at 179 knots. The plane rolled over the end of the runway at high speed, broke up and caught fire. Of the 132 occupants, only 2. The causes of the accident were a considerably trimmed position of the horizontal stabilizer and the failure of the trim system (see also Air France flight 007 ) .
  • On March 5, 1968, an Air France Boeing 707-328C (F-BLCJ) flew into a volcano at an altitude of 1200 meters on the approach to Pointe-à-Pitre Airport in Guadeloupe . All 63 people on board were killed. The flight recorder could never be recovered and the cause of the crash could not be determined.
  • On December 3, 1969, an Air France Boeing 707-328B (F-BHSZ) crashed into the sea about six kilometers away on the way from Santiago de Chile to Paris shortly after taking off after a stopover at Caracas Airport . All 62 people on board were killed. According to a leaked secret report, an explosive charge could have been in the left main landing gear bay.
  • On July 24, 1974, a Fokker F-27 (F-BPUI) crashed near Nantes , killing all three people on board consisting of the crew.
  • On June 26, 1988 an Airbus A320-100 (F-GFKC) crashed at Mulhouse-Habsheim airfield . The machine performed a low flyby as part of a demonstration, but did not gain height at the end of the airport site, grazed some trees and finally fell into a forest where it burned out. Three out of 136 people on board died. It is believed that the aircraft was flying extremely low and slow and that the crew increased the speed required for the go-around too late (see also Air France flight 296 ) .
  • On March 4, 1999, a Boeing 737-228 of Air France (F-GBYA) on the flight from Paris-Charles de Gaulle at Biarritz Airport came off the runway, causing the nose landing gear to buckle. After another 400 meters, the aircraft came to a stop. None of the 97 occupants were harmed, but the machine had to be written off as a total loss.
  • On March 5, 1999, on a Boeing 747-2B3F freighter of Air France (F-GPAN) approaching Chennai Airport , a warning regarding the not extended nose landing gear was issued, but the flight crew considered this to be a false warning. The aircraft then landed with the nose landing gear not extended. While the five-man crew was able to save themselves, the machine then burned out completely because the airport fire brigade was unable to put out the fire.
  • On July 25, 2000, an Air France Concorde (F-BTSC) crashed into a hotel shortly after taking off from Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport . All 109 occupants of the machine and four people in the building died in the accident. The reason was a broken metal part from engine 2 of a previously launched McDonnell Douglas DC-10 of Continental Airlines , which was now on the runway . During the Concorde's take-off run, the part tore open one of its tires, the debris of which hit the tank and cut a cable in the wheel well. The sparks created on the cable ignited the leaking kerosene. The already burning machine was already too fast despite the engine malfunction and could no longer abort the take-off run (see also Air France flight 4590 ) .
  • On August 2, 2005, an Air France Airbus A340-300 (F-GLZQ) shot over the runway in Toronto and fell into a ditch. The plane burned out completely. There were no fatalities to complain about (see also Air France flight 358 ) .
  • On 25 January 2007 should Fokker 100 of Régional Compagnie Aérienne Européenne (F-GMPG) the Air France flight 7775 from airport Pau Pyrenees to Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle perform. After taking off, the machine leaned 35 degrees to the left, then 67 degrees to the right and again 59 degrees to the left. As a result of the flight maneuvers, the machine fell back onto the runway from an altitude of 32 meters and jumped up again when it touched down. At a speed of 160 knots (300 km / h), the captain decided to abort the take-off. The machine touched down again. The thrust was taken back, the machine rolled 300 meters over the runway, broke through the airport fence and crossed a country road behind it. The left main landing gear tore open the cab of a truck and the driver was killed. The machine then slid across a field, with both main landing gears being torn off. The causes of the accident were hoarfrost on the wings and excessive rotation (lifting of the nose) (see also Air France flight 7775 ) .
  • On June 1, 2009, an Airbus A330-200 (F-GZCP) crashed over the Atlantic Ocean on its flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, with no occupant surviving. There were 216 passengers on board the aircraft, including 28 Germans and 12 crew members. As a cause of the crash, the failure of the speed sensors by icing and the subsequent reaction of the cockpit crew from incorrect and contradictory control commands a true stall caused. A large part of the wreck with flight recorder and cockpit voice recorder could only be found in 2011 after a large-scale search (see also Air France flight 447 ) .


  • On October 18, 1973, a passenger, the wife of the French film producer Georges Cravenne , hijacked a Boeing 727-200 (F-BPJC) on its way from Paris to Nice. The machine was finally stormed in Marseille and the woman shot.
  • On June 27, 1976, an Air France Airbus A300 , which was supposed to run from Tel Aviv via Athens to Paris, was hijacked to Entebbe (Uganda) after taking off from Athens . Israeli security forces were flown to Entebbe undetected on the night of July 4th and were able to free almost all of the hostages in the course of Operation Entebbe .
  • On December 26, 1994, an Airbus A300B2-1C (F-GBEC) was hijacked at Algiers Airport on its way to Paris . After three passengers were murdered by the hijackers, the plane flew to Marseille, where it was stormed and all four hijackers shot. Due to the exchange of fire, the aircraft was so badly damaged that it had to be written off as a total loss (see also Air France flight 8969 ) .

See also


Web links

Commons : Air France  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Air France  travel guide
 Wikinews: Air France  - in the news

Individual evidence

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  8. - Air France-KLM confirms order for 25 787-9s plus 25 options (English)
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  13. - Air France's last Boeing 747-400 receives escort of honor
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