In July 1983, Air France inaugurated its Paris-Seoul route, becoming the first European airline to serve Korea.
The weekly service by Boeing 747 combi (cargo and passenger aircraft) rapidly proved inadequate.
Since its creation, Air France has been serving Asia, as successor of Air Orient, one of its five founding airlines. Saigon, now known as Hô Chi Minh City, in Vietnam has been served since 1933. A service spanning 11,000km, eight rivers, eleven seas, thirteen mountain chains and five deserts! After the war, Air France extended its network from this historic route – to Shanghai, Manila, New Delhi, Bangkok, and Tokyo in 1952. Air France soon had a network comprising a dozen stop-overs in Asia.
“The Korean miracle”
Devastated by the war with North Korea in 1950, South Korea subsequently made a spectacular recovery, developing economic exchanges with industrialized countries. In 1973, Air France and the young airline Korean Air, a current member of the SkyTeam alliance, began a weekly cargo service. On 4 July 1983, Air France launched its service to Seoul, the capital of a then thriving state. Frequencies progressively increased. In 2002, Air France introduced a daily Paris-Seoul route. Equipped with a new international airport in Incheon in 2001, Seoul is now a key hub for Air France, which has added 3 weekly services to its daily rotations this summer.
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