Air France Guide
The beginnings of Air France were the result of a merger between Air Orient, Air Union, Compagnie Generale Aeropostale, Compagnie Internationale de Navigation Aerienne, and the Societe Generale de Transport Aerien on 7 October 1933. The airline continued to grow with other mergers over the years, many often adding new routes to the airline's roster. Up to the time of the merger with KLM, Air France was considered the national flag carrier for France, and still is considered as a national treasure. As recently as 2004, the airline accounted for over 25% of the total market share for European air travel.
Air France History & Information
While a part of the Air France/KLM family, Air France continues to maintain headquarters in Paris, at the Charles De Gaulle International Airport. Because the airline is a founding member of SkyTeam, it also maintains subsidiary headquarters in a number of key hubs around the world. The structure of the Air France network allows the airline to respond quickly to customer expectations, while continuing to offer uniform quality throughout all its flights.
Air France Routes
Air France offers service to 83 countries, with over 150 locations. In Africa, the airline provides service to and from the Quatro de Fevereiro Airport in Luanda, Angola, as well as the Douala Airport in Cameroon. Cargo flights are made to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, while Air France provides passenger service to the Ivato Airport in Antananarivo, Madagascar.
Flights to and from Canada include service to the Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, along with the Toronto Pearson International Airport. Major city airports around the United States are also the destinations of Air France flights, including Miami International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
A number of points in South America are also serviced by Air France. The Ministro Pistarini International Airport in Buenos Aires receives daily flights, as does Rio de Janeiro-Galeao International Airport. Flights also run to El Dorado International Airport in Bogota, Cayenne-Rochambeau in French Guiana, and Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas.
Flights to China include stops at the Beijing Capital International Airport, as well as Hong Kong International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Japanese service is available to both the Kansai International Airport in Osaka and Narita International Airport in Tokyo.
Regular flights to Germany, Italy, Austria, Denmark, and various locations in the Middle East are also part of the daily routes offered by Air France. New routes are added from time to time, with some changes made to available routes when and as needed. All in all, Air France manages to cover destinations on six continents, making it one of the most popular airlines in the world.
The Air France Fleet
As with Air France's partner KLM, only the latest and the best airliners make it into the fleet. For many of the longer flights, Air France uses a fleet that is comprised of both Boeing and Airbus jetliners. For shorter routes, liners such as the Airbus A320 are commonly employed. A new addition to the Air France family during November 2009 was the Airbus A380, offering service from Charles De Gaulle International Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.
In addition to jetliners, Air France also operates a fleet of turboprop and regional jet aircraft that are used for regional flights as well as a small selection of European destinations.
Over the years, the stake of the French government in Air France has changed. At the time of the merger with KLM in 2004, the decision was made to reduce interest in the company to below 50%. This effectively paved the way for privatisation of the airline. Soon after the merger, the investment of the French government was further reduced. As a result, the government of France currently has a stake in Air France/KLM that is less than 20%.
Along with the main hub at Charles De Gaulle International Airport in Paris, the airline also maintains several secondary hubs that are also located in France. These hubs are located at Paris Orly Airport, Lyon-Saint Exupery Airport, and Nice Cote d'Azur Airport. Additional subsidiary hubs are located elsewhere as Air France continues to expand its network of destinations and capture more of the travel market.