Everyone knows the main city Concorde served was New York, from Paris and London by Air France and British Airways respectively. What many may not know is there were some more unusual cities that Air France flew to in the initial days.
Since New York did not permit the aircraft to land until 1977, the airlines had to get creative. Here’s what Air France decided to do, along with some of the advertising used at the time.
Unusual Cities? Paris to Rio de Janeiro
The first route for Air France was Paris to Rio de Janeiro via Dakar, which took a total of seven hours. The standard time for the service would usually have been 12 hours which is pointed out in the vintage ad from 1976 below.
This route was operated for a few years through to 1982, when it was cut due to costs. I wonder how many passengers stopped off in Dakar along the way…
How About Paris to Caracas?
Venezuela is an economic basket case these days, but it wasn’t always the case. The second Air France route in 1976 was from Paris to Caracas, via Santa Maria in the Azores.
No doubt the oil industry in that part of the world helped support the flights. They were also discontinued as unprofitable after a few years service.
Finally, Paris to Mexico City
The final route that Air France called to on a regular basis was Mexico City. This service continued on from Washington D.C., a city which happened to be served by both airlines.
Flights operated twice weekly, taking 7 hours and 40 minutes, a substantial saving over the 13 and a half hours the subsonic jets took. Again it didn’t last long, but would have been an interesting one to try.
These are not unusual cities in the grand scheme of things, but for Concorde operations they are. Dakar, Caracas, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro – not the first places that spring to mind for supersonic services.
Even with stops the time savings are tangible, but it looks like they didn’t work out. I’d love to know what passenger loads were like on the flights, as they can’t have been all that wonderful. You can see a comprehensive list of Concorde destinations here at Concorde SST.
Did you ever fly on an Air France Concorde to one of the unusual cities above? Ever fly on one at all? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.