Air France celebrates 50 years of excellence and innovation at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport!

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50 years ago, on March 13, 1974, the Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport was inaugurated, a futuristic project and a piece of modern architecture, which, over the years, would become the main gateway to the European Union.

In 1996, Air France established its global hub here, transforming this place into a small city, a daily meeting point for travelers from all over the world. Today, Air France carries more than half of the airport's traffic, connecting Paris to more than 200 destinations in nearly 100 countries around the globe.

Terminal 1 of the new Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport was inaugurated on March 8, 1974

Terminal 1 of the new Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport was inaugurated on March 8, 1974, after eight years of construction, by French Prime Minister Pierre Messmer. Conceived by the young architect Paul Andreu, this terminal was endowed with an innovative design: a central circular building, like a disk connected to seven satellites, the singular structure facilitating the distribution of passenger flows and earning the nickname of "Camembert", still used today.

The first Air France flight from Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport took off on 30 April 1974. Caravelle

F-BHRA, the first aircraft of this type delivered to Air France, flew to Belgrade and Sofia under the command of Flight Captain Henri Cibert. The company's operations were gradually shifted to Paris-Charles de Gaulle, initially serving domestic and European destinations. The migration of the company's flights to Paris-Charles de Gaulle is taking place gradually, initially with domestic (Bordeaux, Nice, Toulouse) and European (London, Geneva, Frankfurt, Turin and Lisbon) services.

The real move took place in November 1974, with the transfer to Paris-Charles de Gaulle of two-thirds of the flights and part of the maintenance work of the national company. The airport known at the time as Paris-Roissy Charles de Gaulle therefore established itself as the main platform for Air France.

Two years later, in 1976, Concorde joined the Air France fleet and flew at supersonic speed to Dakar, Rio de Janeiro, then Caracas, Washington, Dallas and New York JFK. Paris is only 3,5 hours from New York at the time, and customers traveling aboard Concorde were treated to a dedicated airport lounge and experience.

Driven by the increase in traffic, Paris-Charles de Gaulle went through several changes and gradually expanded. Air France has relocated several times to offer its customers dedicated infrastructures that are increasingly comfortable and adapted to the growth of the company.

Terminal 2 at Paris-Charles de Gaulle, opened in 1982

Since 1982, the opening of Terminal 2 at Paris-Charles de Gaulle has allowed Air France to develop its network, especially in Europe. Thanks to its brand new fleet of medium-haul aircraft (Boeing 737, then Airbus A320), the company increased its number of connections and offered an increasingly dense network. In 1988, Air France had the highest number of stops in Europe. For 50 years, Air France has operated from Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, the hub of a global network. The need for a third Parisian airport had become apparent since the 50s, as traffic grew at the capital's historic airports, Paris-Le Bourget and Paris-Orly.

Following the growing traffic, Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport has undergone several transformations and expansions. Air France has relocated its operations several times to offer customers dedicated, increasingly comfortable infrastructures adapted to the growth of the company.

Since the opening of Terminal 2 in 1982, Air France has expanded its network, especially in Europe, thanks to the new fleet of medium-haul aircraft (Boeing 737, then Airbus A320), providing an increasingly dense network. In 1996, the opening of Terminal 2E marked a major restructuring, transforming Paris-Charles de Gaulle into a global hub for connecting flights.

In 1996, the year Terminal 2E opened, Air France embarked on a major restructuring. The airline has reorganized its operations to transform Paris-Charles de Gaulle into a hub for connecting flights, connecting short- and medium-haul flights with long-haul flights. Flight operations have been better distributed, connections faster and easier, and Paris-Charles de Gaulle is becoming a true global hub.

This major project allowed the airline to operate up to 60 flights per hour and accommodate more and more passengers.

In 2000, Paris-Charles de Gaulle acquired a fourth runway, the first in Europe.

Terminal 2E has also gone through several phases of growth, with the opening of Concourse L in 2007, followed a few years later by Concourse M. These successive expansions have allowed the terminal to increase its capacity by 20 million passengers per year. To facilitate connections, Air France's partner companies, particularly members of the Skyteam alliance, have taken up residence in the terminals operated by Air France.

Connectivity is one of the main strengths of Paris-Charles de Gaulle, the only Parisian airport directly connected to the RER B and with a TGV station. This rail connection allows Air France to develop its intermodal offer with SNCF and offer customers the possibility to combine a train and air journey on a single ticket.

Paris-Charles de Gaulle boasts 9 terminals

Today, 50 years after its inauguration, Paris-Charles de Gaulle boasts 9 terminals, being the largest airport in France and the second largest in Europe, the main gateway to the European Union.

As the airport's main operator, with 50% of the traffic, Air France operates 650 departing and arriving flights per day and offers 25.000 connecting opportunities per week in less than 2 hours. Every day 100.000 Air France customers are received, some of whom visit the company's 6 lounges (Business and Flying Blue Elite lounges in terminals 2F, 2G, 2E Halls K, L and M, La Première lounge in terminal 2E) .

The Lounge in Terminal 2F, the latest space inaugurated by Air France, welcomes Business and Flying Blue Elite Plus customers on two levels. Thanks to the curved window that offers a full view of the runway, designed by architect Sanjit Manku and designer Patrick Jouin, customers can admire the approximately 240 aircraft wearing the colors of the French airline, preparing to fly to 200 destinations around the world.

50 years since its inauguration, Air France celebrates its rich history and significant contribution to transforming Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport into a vital hub for international travel. With a strong commitment to innovation, sustainability and excellence in customer service, Air France continues to be a leader in the aviation industry, connecting the world through the heart of Europe.

This anniversary not only marks past achievements, but also reaffirms Air France's commitment to the future, to providing an exceptional flying experience and remaining a forerunner of aviation progress. The company aims to continue to develop the global network, improve the passenger experience and lead sustainability initiatives, thus strengthening the link between history and innovation.

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