Aéropostale (aviation)


Aéropostale (aviation)
Compagnie générale aéropostale
IATA
N/A
ICAO
N/A
Callsign
N/A
Founded 1918, France
Commenced operations 1918, France
Ceased operations October 7, 1933 (1933-10-07)
Operating bases Toulouse-Montaudran Airport (Toulouse – Lasbordes Airport) Toulouse, France
Destinations Barcelona, Dakar, Casablanca
Headquarters Toulouse, France
Key people Pierre-Georges Latécoère

Aéropostale (formally, Compagnie générale aéropostale) was a pioneering aviation company. It was founded in 1918 in Toulouse, France, as Société des lignes Latécoère, also known as Lignes Aeriennes Latécoère or simply "The Line" (La ligne).

Lignes Aeriennes Latécoère c.1918.

Contents

History

Aéropostale founder Pierre-Georges Latécoère envisioned an air route connecting France to the French colonies in Africa and South America. The company's activities were to specialise in, but were by no means restricted to, airborne postal services. Between 1921 and 1927 the "Line" operated as Compagnie générale d'entreprises aéronautiques (CGEA). In April 1927 Latécoère, having troubles with its planes, damaged due to long flights to South America, decided to sell 93% of his business to another Brazilian-based French businessman named Marcel Bouilloux-Lafont. On that basis, Bouilloux-Lafont then founded the Compagnie générale aéropostale, better known by the shorter name Aéropostale.

On December 25, 1918, the company began serving its first route between Toulouse and Barcelona in Spain. In February 1919 the line was extended to Casablanca. By 1925 it extended to Dakar, where the mail was shipped by steamer to South America. In November 1927 regular flights between Rio de Janeiro and Natal were started. Expansion then continued to Paraguay, and in July 1929 a regularly scheduled route across the Andes Mountains to Santiago, Chile, were started, later extending down to Tierra del Fuego on the southern part of Chile. Finally, on May 12–13, 1930, the trip across the South Atlantic by air finally took place: a Latécoère 28 mail plane fitted with floats and a 650 horsepower (480 kW) Hispano-Suiza engine made the first nonstop flight. Aeropostale pilot Jean Mermoz flew 3,058 kilometers from Dakar to Natal in 19 hours 35 minutes, with his plane holding 122 kilograms of mail.

After a scandal involving postal payments from the French government to Aeropostale, the company was dissolved in 1932, and merged with a number of other aviation companies (Air Orient, Société Générale de Transport Aérien, Air Union, and Compagnie Internationale de Navigation) to create Air France.

Aéropostale pilots

Developed in the aftermath of World War I, air mail services owe much to the bravery of their earliest pilots. During the 1920s, every flight was a dangerous adventure, and could be fatal. The period was eloquently described by the French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – himself an Aéropostale pilot – in his novel Vol de Nuit (translated as "Night Flight"), in which he describes a postal flight through the skies of South America.

Aéropostale's roster of pilots included such aviation legends as:

Aircraft

Among aircraft operated by the company were:

Film

See also

  • Aéropostale, a U.S. apparel outlet that took its name and some of its design cues from the Compagnie Générale Aéropostale.
  • Aeropostal Alas de Venezuela, normally referred to as just Aeropostal, an airline in Venezuela, established after the government took over air routes previously operated by the French Aéropostale
  • Aeroposta Argentina, a subsidiary in Argentina.

References

External links


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