Air France celebrated the 75th anniversary of its first scheduled flights to New York, which took place on 24 June 1946.
New York has always been a city apart for Air France. The story began on June 24, 1946, when a DC4 named "Ciel d'île de France" took off from Paris-Orly at 7pm. After 23 hours and 45 minutes, at an average speed of 305 km/h and two stopovers, one in Ireland and the other in Newfoundland, the first regular 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 stopovers on the outward journey and make the return trip direct. On board, the Air France teams invented a modular cabin (up to 46 seats during the day and 22 berths at night) with a service, then called the "Golden Comet", which forever forged the reputation of the airline.
On November 19, 1953, an improved version of the Lockheed Constellation, called the "Constellation Super G", allowed 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 "Parisien Spécial" on the outbound flight and the "Parisien doré" on the return.
On January 31, 1960, the propeller era gave way to that of the jet, with the "Château de Versailles", a brand new B707, which linked Paris to New York in half the time it had taken before, at a cruising speed of 900 km/h, all in unrivalled luxury and comfort.
Ten years later, on June 3, 1970, Air France experienced a new revolution with the first commercial flight of the B747. The era of mass air transport by Jumbo Jet was launched, without departing 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 3.5 hours, the Concorde breaks free from space and time and allows Air France to fly faster than the sun.
On November 21, 2009, the largest airliner of all time landed smoothly on the runway of New York-JFK. Air France definitively sealed its name in the record books with the A380 as it continued to offer its 516 passengers the best in civil aviation.
The year 2014 marked a new stage in the history of the route. On flights to this flagship destination, Air France chose to reinvent itself by unveiling, on board a B777, the upmarket nature of all its products and services, in particular the new La Première suite.
In 2020, at a time when the world was experiencing an unprecedented health crisis, Air France was forced to drastically reduce its flight schedule to New York. However, the airline 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 on this destination by transporting freight across the Atlantic.
Today, in 2021, Air France is maintaining its "Air France Protect" on-board health commitment and 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 three 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.