5 things to know about Air France – Yahoo Autos France

Every Wednesday, Yahoo invites you to get to know a business better. Little secrets, anecdotes, unusual stories, don’t miss the opportunity to wow your friends. For this 59th episode, zoom in on the French national airline: Air France.

1 – Nationalization, Concorde, conflicts, strikes: 88 years of history

From the height of its 88 springs, Air France can claim a well-filled existence with a few shocks all the same. Founded on October 7, 1933 following the merger of five French airlines (Air Union, Air Orient, Société Générale de Transport Aérien, CIDNA and Aéropostale), the company was quickly nationalized at the end of World War II. A few months later, she made her first flight to New York in over 20 hours. The following ? Air France continued successes with the culmination of the inauguration of its supersonic aircraft in 1976: the Concorde.

The Concorde in 2003 (Photo by Philippe DESMAZES / AFP)

And then patatras. The takeover of its competitor UTA for 1 billion euros at the beginning of the 90s weakens it and social crises follow one another. The finances how to pitch despite an improvement in 2004 and the agreement signed with the Dutch KLM. For 30 years, the airline has therefore been struggling either because of financial difficulties or because of strikes. And often because of both. In 2018 alone, the 15 days of employee strike cost “nearly 400 million euros to the French company”. A colossal sum, certainly, but a drop of water compared to the Covid.

2 – Gigantic losses because of the Covid

To say that Air France has been hit hard by the health crisis is an understatement. Due to the end of global tourism in 2020 caused by the Covid, Air France-KLM lost two thirds of its customers and 7.1 billion euros last year. Now amounting to 11.1 billion euros, the turnover of the Franco-Dutch group has thus fallen by 59% compared to 2019. Although the lifting of the main health restrictions and the opening of borders has since reduced passengers at airports, the happy days have not yet returned.

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According to ATH Financial Information Observatory, which analyzed the results of the 90 companies in the index, the Franco-Dutch airline is the company that remains the most impacted by the crisis compared to their pre-Covid level.

3 – No marriage until 1963

Having the right to embody French chic everywhere in the world is something you deserve. As early as 1946, the first flight attendants boarded Air France planes and, with them, a set of strict and sometimes surprising rules. If the uniform is of course obligatory, the hostesses must be between 22 and 30 years old, have “the pleasant face, the personality and the distinction”. Another surrealist obligation: the ban on getting married. A rule that will prevail until 1963, all the same.

An Air France flight attendant in 2000 (Photo by Etienne DE MALGLAIVE / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

An Air France flight attendant in 2000 (Photo by Etienne DE MALGLAIVE / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

4 – Paris-Santiago, a (very) long journey

17,000 daily flights, 1,080 destinations, 170 countries … Coordinated around two of the most important airports in Europe (Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Schiphol in Amsterdam), the Air France-KLM network serves almost the entire world. In 2019, the last “normal” year in the airline sector, the group carried no less than 104.2 million passengers.

Do you like to fly and if possible nonstop? Fasten your seat belts and fly to Santiago. Allow at least 14 hours and 30 minutes with Air France to complete the 11,500 kilometers that separate Paris from the Chilean capital. It is the longest direct destination served by Air France from Paris.

5 – The day a comedian revealed confidential information

This is called a nice dumpling. Before becoming a comedian, Jeanfi Janssens was a flight attendant at Air France for almost 20 years. Except that one day, his new status as a public figure played tricks on him. Just hired on the show Les Grosses Têtes on RTL in 2016, he calls on Laurent Ruquier. “Laurent, you know what? The code to open the cockpit of planes is the same on all planes in the world: it’s 1 2 3 4 Enter. Only the flight attendants don’t remember it not !”.

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After receiving a phone call from his boss of Air France, the comedian ch’ti says he was summoned to a crisis meeting at Roissy following his awkward exit. The airline company changed its access code which had not been changed for eleven years. “This code had not changed since 2005 and thanks to me, the code has changed. I am a hero for France!”, He finally joked.

Since then, Air France has confirmed this incident but minimized the importance of the code since it “did not allow entry into the cockpit”. In fact, “this code works like a doorbell, and the captains always have the hand to open or not,” said the spokesperson for the company on BFM TV in 2019.

VIDEO – Air France makes its first long-haul flight with cooking oil

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