July 1st, 1946. The Air France Douglas DC-4 took off from Paris-Orly and landed at New York’s La Guardia airport at noon local time.
A historic flight of 23 hours and 45 minutes, with two technical stop-overs, in Shannon, Ireland and Gander, Newfoundland (Canada). This first commercial service between Paris and New York was dubbed the “Star Ribbon Route”.
The booming relations between the United States and France led Air France to increase the frequency of its services, to two weekly flights in 1946 and one daily flight in 1954. For over ten years, the Constellation aircraft ruled the Atlantic. As from 1953, every Friday on departure from Paris-Orly, a luxury “Parisien special” service was operated by a « Super Constellation », with sleeper compartments, lounges and bar. Air France bridged the gap between Europe and the new world and, in 1960, entered the jet era.
A showcase for modernity
From Orly, the Boeing 707 reactors flew to Idlewild airport – rechristened John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1963 – in 8 hours 15 min. More than ever before, the route embodied the Company’s modern stance, who hired the brilliant decorator Pierre Gautier-Delaye to renovate its ticket office in New York, named the most beautiful building on the 5th Avenue in 1970. He also planned the layout of the new Air France facilities at JFK, accommodating the Boeing 747 (1970) and subsequently the Concorde (1977). New York was now just 3 hours and 45 minutes away from Paris! The "great white bird" crossed the ocean for over 25 years. Then it left the stage, paving the way for the jumbos, notably the A380 super jumbo, “christened” on the Paris-New York route in 2009. In 2014, Air France chose the Paris-New York route as the first destination to inaugurate on board its Boeing 777 its latest new cabins. Some of the many milestones that have marked the Company’s history in New York.
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