Air France in New York: 75 years of unrivalled history
— La saga
DC4 "Ciel Ile de France" F-BBDJ .1er vol Paris New-York. De gauche à droite : Robert BONNET, second CDB, Jean ROUSSEAU, navigateur, Madeleine THIPLOUSE, hôtesse, Roger LOUBRY, CDB et chef pilote Atlantique Nord, Georges PLANTIVE et Marien CHAPY, radios.
@ collection du musée Air France
New York has always been a city apart for Air France. For the past 75 years, these two cities have laid the foundations of our airline’s incredible adventure. Air France's expertise has turned to this very special route to make it a laboratory of creation and innovation that forever transformed the art of air travel.
The story began on June 24, 1946, when a DC4 called "Ciel d'île de France" took off from Paris-Orly at 7:00 p.m. After 23 hours and 45 minutes, at an average speed of 305 km/h and two stopovers, one in Ireland and the other in Terre Neuve, the first scheduled service landed in New York.
A few months later, in January 1947, the introduction of the Lockheed Constellation made it possible to eliminate one of the outbound stopovers and make the return trip direct. On board, Air France teams invented a modular cabin (with up to 46 seats on a day flight and 22 berths at night) with a service, then called the "Golden Comet", which forged the airline's reputation forever.
On November 19, 1953, an improved version of the Lockheed Constellation known as the “Constellation Super G” enabled Air France to offer even more comfort, with a lounge bar, private cabins and real beds on board. The New York route became legendary with the “Parisian Special” on the outward journey and the “Golden Parisian” on the return.
the “Parisian Special” on the outward journey and the “Golden Parisian” on the return.
On January 31, 1960, the propeller age made way for the jet era, with the "Château de Versailles", a brand new B707, which flew from Paris to New York in half the time it used to take, at a cruising speed of 900 km/h, all in unparalleled luxury and comfort.
Ten years later, on June 3, 1970, there was a new revolution for Air France, with the first commercial flight of the B747. The era of mass air travel by Jumbo Jet had begun, without deviating from our tradition of luxury and the pleasure of travel.
On November 22, 1977, Air France assigned its most spectacular aircraft to this now legendary route. At 2,200 km/h, and with a flight time of 3h30, Concorde freed itself from space and time and allowed Air France to fly faster than the sun.
On November 21, 2009, the largest ever airliner made a kiss landing on the runway at New York-JFK. Air France permanently sealed its name in the record books with the A380 by continuing to provide its 516 passengers with the best in civil aviation.
2014 marked a new milestone in the route’s history. On flights to this flagship destination, Air France chose to reinvent itself by unveiling, on board a B777, the move upmarket of all its products and services, in particular the new La Première suite.
In 2020, while the world was experiencing an unprecedented health crisis, Air France was forced to drastically reduce its flight schedule to New York. However, the airline has maintained a regular service between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and New York-JFK, with an air bridge enabling many French and American citizens to be repatriated to their respective countries. Air France has also maintained an important cargo activity to this destination by transporting freight across the Atlantic.
Now, in 2021, Air France is maintaining its "Air France Protect" health commitment on board and is extending its fully flexible policy until the end of December 2021.
Similarly, Air France is constantly adapting its flight schedule to changes in the global health context. With the gradual reopening of borders, this summer the airline is offering up to 3 daily frequencies between Paris and New York-JFK and more than 100 weekly departures from 12 American cities, with connections to Europe via its Paris-Charles de Gaulle hub.