vfw614 From Germany, joined Dec 2001, 4296 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (4 years 5 months 6 hours ago) and read 4221 times:
IIRC the issue with Frejus (LFTU/FRJ) was the short runway which only allowed turboprop operations and could not be extended due to a river at the one end of the runway and the city at the other. Probably flights did not pay off with that type of equipment, given that for flights to nearby NCE and TLN even widebody aircraft were used in the summer.
The airport itself was closed for aircraft operations in the mid 1990s (I think sometimes there are heli flights, at least during the fire fighting season). In the late 1980s there were still seasonal flights with ATR42s.
Frejus had a long airport tradition, if I am not mistaken the French Naval Aviation centre was established there pre WWI.
FlySSC From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 7477 posts, RR: 56
Reply 13, posted (4 years 5 months 4 hours ago) and read 4174 times:
In November 2004, I wrote this treat to celebrate the 50 years of this great airline, Air Inter. Here it is :
In Nov/Dec 1954 was formed what was to become in the mid-90's the first domestic airline in Europe, an innovating airline, the "ancestor" of the "low-costs" : AIR INTER !!!
The airline opened up the regions of France and invented a (then) revolutionary fare system which made Air Travel possible and cheap for millions of people in France and in Europe.
The Air Inter adventure ended on December 31st 1995, when a flight from Ajaccio landed at Paris-Orly... Renamed Air France Europe, operating the "brand" Air Inter Europe, the domestic airline was finally absorbed by Air France April 1st 1997.
Until 1954, France did not have any structured domestic network.
In 1960, France had only 200.000 people on its domestic routes, while Italy and Germany had already more than 400.000, and Great Britain 2,8 millions.
The French domestic network linked Paris-Orly to five cities (BOD, LYS, MRS, NTE, NCE) but thiese flights were primarily feeder flights for international connections or/and domestic segments on an international flight.
The mid-50's were an ideal time to create a domestic airline. Yet it was developed by the private sector, rather than by he Government.
Francis Fabre, the President of UAT airline (later UTA) with the help of the former head of Aeropostale Didier Daurat put together a project that drew in a dozen partners. The new airline, named AIR INTER was set up on November 12th 1954.
The first aircraft didn't fly for another three years. In the meantime, Air France and SNCF (The French Railways Company) invested in the airline and the public sector became a majority shareholder. Finally, on March 1958, the inaugural flight transported a group of Ministers from Paris to Strasbourg for a meeting at the Council of Europe. Flight IT 001 remained the morning flight Paris-ORY ---> SXB until the end in 1997...
Several routes were started the same year, but the results were disappointing and the airline ceased operations.
Air Inter was given a second chance in 1960 : Its new President, Admiral Paul Hébrard traveled throughout the country, obtaining guarantees from local adminitrations that they would ensure operating income for the airline, in exchange for transportation service to their territory.
The lobbying operations were successful and in June 1960, flights started up again with one inter-regional flight : LIL-LYS-NCE and three new routes from ORY to LYS, TLS, PUF (Pau).
The number of passengers grew exponentially : from 200.000 in 1962 to 1 million in 1965 and 2,4 millions in 1969...
The first "Subscrition Card" for frequent flyers was introduced in October 1962 while discount fares were created for youngs, groups, and "seniors" passengers.
Until 1962, Air Inter was operating aircraft leased from partners Air France and UAT mostly but also Air Nautic, TAI...DC3, DC4, DC6, Viscount, L-749 etc...)
In 1962, the airline buys its first owned aircraft : 5 second-hand Vickers Viscount V708.
Two more were added in 1963. The airline employs 274 persons and carries that year 344.639 PAX.
In 1964, the airline acquires 3 Vickers V724 in Canada and 4 Nord-262 (29 seats) from Nord-Aviation; For the first time in its short history, Air Inter's fleet is sufficient to operate its network and the airline doesn't need anymore leased aircraft.
In 1966, the fleet consists in 14 Vickers Viscount and 4 Nord-262.
1.170.206 PAX are transported that year and an important contract for the maintenance of the Vickers fleet is signed with Middle East Airlines (MEA) in Beirut.
That year also, the "Jet age" begins for Air Inter with the leasing from Air France of 2 Sud-Aviation Caravelle
In 1967, the first Caravelle III (F-BNKC) is delivered to Air Inter.
The Fokker F-27.200 is ordered to modernize the turboprop fleet. They will be operated until 1988.
In 1969, on January 9th. a "World premiere" is realized by an Air Inter Caravelle III : The first all-automated landing with poor visibility, using th ATT system (ATT = Atterrissage Tout Temps = All Weather Landing System) :
The Caravelle F-BNKH, coming from Lyon (Lys) with 56 PAX on board lands at ORY with an horizontal visibility of 200 meters obly and a "ceiling" at 20 meters !
On that day, 5 others "ATT" are made at ORY, remained opened only for Air Inter, as all the other airlines have to divert, because of the fog.
ALL Air Inter aircraft are soon equipped with this "ATT" system as well as 5 airports in France : ORY, TLS, BOD, MRS, LYS.
In 1969, After some accidents in Australia, 6 Vickers Viscount are retired from service due to structural problems.
In 1972 :
On January 30h, Air Inter places an order for 10 Dassault-Mercure
The Traffic knows one of its biggest expansion : + 29 %
The net benefit is growing and the auto-financement becomes sufficient. ALL the subsidies from the regions and from the government will stop this year and a new original system replace them : the benefits realized on the 11 profitable routes will finance the deficit on the 46 other routes loosing money so all the regions in France will continue to benefit an air service to Paris...
In October, the first 2 (out of 7) Caravelle Super-XII are delivered.
In 1973, Air Inter takes delivery of its last Caravelle 12.
After buying out the 5 Caravelle 12 from Sterling Airways, Air Inter will become the sole operator of the last version of this famous bird as only 12 units were built.
In 1974, Air Inter introduces the Dassault Mercure. A 150 seats jet, comparable to the B737. Though technically remarkable, it will not be a commercial success. Air Inter will be the only customer for this aircraft and will operate the 10 aircraft built. An 11th aircraft will be added in 1985 : one of the 2 prototypes (F-BTMD), modified to comply with commercial services.
Air Inter carries 4.390.000 PAX.
1975 will be an important year for Air Inter;
The airlines orders its first 3 Airbus A300-B2
The last Vickers Viscount is retired on April 12th.
Air Inter operates 60 lines in France. Only 11 routes from Paris and 1 inter-Regional route (LYS-LIL) are profitable and are used to finance the deficit of the rest of the network.
A Commercial innovation is created : the "tri-colors" plan.
The idea is to attract "leisure" passengers (by low fares) to travel during the low-peak hours.
The "RED" flights are programmed during the high peak hours with high demand. They are mostly used by businessmen and no discount is available on these flights.
The "BLUE" flights are programmed during the low-peak hours of the days and up to 80% discount is available for families, young, seniors, groups... on these flights.
The "WHITE" flights are programmed during the intermediate period of the day, and up to 50% discount is available on these flights.
This revolutionnary fare system will be the biggest success of Air Inter and will lead the airline to be the First European domestic Airline in 1994, with more than 17 millions PAX transported... more than Air France that year !
In 1976, Air Inter introduces in November its first Airbus A300-B2 (314 seats) on Paris-LYS, NCE, MRS.
On December 22nd, another "World Premiere" : The first ATT (All Weather Landing System) in the world with a wide body is made with an Air Inter A300.
In 1978 : The Caravelle III are retired from service.
Air Inter buys 20% of the capital of Air Charter International (Air France holds 80%).
1979 : The traffic expansion reaches 14%.
2 Caravelle 12 are added. The airline operates 5 Airbus A300.
1981 : Air Inter has to face the competition of the TGV (High Speed Train) launched on Paris-Lyon... Its biggest line...
1985 : Air Inter places an order for 10 A320.
5 A300 are bought from Air France (F-GBEA/EB, F-BVGD/E/F ).
The airline develops during the 80's a simple yet efficient product : No seating assignment on board the a/c, No food on board, drinks are charged 10 Francs (25 FR. for Alcoholic drinks and Champagne), short stop over to maximize the utilization of the a/c (30mn for a Caravelle, 35 mn for a Mercure, 45 minutes for an A300) and the fares are among the cheapest in Europe.
A full fare ticket Paris-Lyon cost about half the price of a Full fare ticket Paris-GVA on AF or SR...
Air Inter increases its flights to the "border" destinations to attract passengers : Spanish comes to take the plane in PGF (Perpignan) rather than in BCN, Germans and Swiss come to SXB and MLH, Italians come in NCE...
15,8 millions PAX are carried in 1991.
Flying in the shadow of Air France, Air Inter continued to grow and started flying to destinations beyond France...from Paris Orly to IBZ, then MAD, FCO, VCE, VLC from CDG... But Air Inter is not authorized to offer its low cost product and fares on these destinations ad it would compete with AF and endanger the National Airline...
Air Inter is launching the A320 in July 1988, and is placing order to become the launch company of the A319 and A321.
To face the increasing demand, Air Inter is leasing a B747-100 from AF. The a/c is used on ORY-NCE, ORY-MRS, ORY-TLS.
The aircraft (F-BPVD) is operated by Air Inter technical and commercial crews.
Because of "pressure" from Airbus Industries, the Boeing is transferred from ORY-TLS to ORY-BOD...
Air Inter plans to acquire 3 B747SR from japan Airlines but will finally add second-hand A300's
An order of 15 A330-300 is placed... the airlines operates up to 22 Airbus A300 in the early 90's and 25 A320's...
The Caravelle operates is last flight on August 3rd 1991...
The Mercure is retired in 1995...
In 1990, Air France has purchased UTA, and so became the primary shareholder of Air Inter. Despite the guarantees given by AF's CEO to preserve Air Inter identity, it is clear that sooner of later the two airlines would merge.
In 1993, Air France is almost dead. Air Inter get ready to restart the AF operations if the national airline has to cease operations but an agreement is found : as a compensation for Air France re-capitalization, the European Authorities require France to open its domestic sky to competition.
Air Inter has to face competition on its major routes but at the same time, the government doesn't authorize it to close the unprofitable lines, or to expand in Europe with its own product and imposes the A330...
Air Inter future has been sacrified to save Air France.
Air Inter's CEO resign to protest. His name : Jean Cyril SPINETTA...
Air Inter is the launch company for the A330 (412 Y seats) and the first service is operated on Paris-MRS on January 17th 1994. The airline will operate up to 4 aircraft at the time of it would need smaller a/c to add frequencies and face the competition.
The A330 are finally retired from service in early 1997 after a shuttle service "La Navette" is launched from Orly to MRS, TLS, and NCE with up to 26 daily flights and departure every 30 minutes at peak time to each destination, on October 26th 1996.
Since January 18th 1996, the airline is operating under an "hybrid" identity :
The airline official name is "Air France Europe" but is operating under the AF colors and the brand is "Air Inter Europe"... even though the airline is operating on the French domestic network..
Quoting mozart (Reply 2): What ever happened to St. Raphael/Frejus airport?
ORY-FRJ was operated only during the summer seaon, and only during 2 or 3 seasons. It was operated with an ATR42.
FRJ is not a civil airport. It's originally a military base who gave authorization for "civil domestic" flight to Paris during the season only.
No other civil flights were or are operated to/from this airport.
...Air Inter also operated ORY-FRJ flights in the early 1960s.
In 1958, Air Inter's network was :
Paris - Starsbourg
Paris - Vittel
Paris - Dinard
Paris - La Baule
Paris - Nantes
Paris - Bordeaux - Lourdes/Tarbes
Paris - Bordeaux - Toulouse
Paris - Biarritz - Pau
Paris - Lyon
Paris - Marseille
Paris - Nice
Flights were operated with DC3 (leased froom TAI), DC4 (leased from UAT).
In the early 60s, Air Inter was evaluating several aircraft types to build its fleet beside the Vickers Viscount ...
The "Super Broussard" was one of them an was evaluated on Paris-Nantes and, indeed, on Paris-Saint Raphael between July 1st and September 16th 1962.