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Aéropostale (aviation)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Compagnie générale aéropostale
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded1918, France
Commenced operations1918, France
Ceased operationsOctober 7, 1933 (1933-10-07)
Operating basesToulouse-Montaudran Airport (Toulouse – Lasbordes Airport) Toulouse, France
DestinationsBarcelona, Dakar, Casablanca
HeadquartersToulouse, France
Key peoplePierre-Georges Latécoère
Lignes aeriennes Latécoère c.1918.
Lignes aeriennes Latécoère c.1918.
Security paper of the Compagnie Générale Aéropostale, issued 5. November 1928
Security paper of the Compagnie Générale Aéropostale, issued 5. November 1928

Aéropostale (formally, Compagnie générale aéropostale) was a pioneering aviation company which operated from 1918 to 1933. 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).


Aéropostale monument in Tarfaya.
Aéropostale monument in Tarfaya.

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.[1] Expansion then continued to Paraguay and in July 1929 a regularly scheduled route across the Andes Mountains to Santiago, Chile, was 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 kilometres (1,900 mi) from Dakar to Natal in 19 hours, 35 minutes, with his plane holding 122 kilograms (269 lb) of mail.

After a scandal[2] in which postal payments from the French government were misused by 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 service owed much to the bravery of its earliest pilots. During the 1920s, every flight was a dangerous adventure, and sometimes fatal. The period was eloquently described by the French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – himself an Aéropostale pilot – in his novel Vol de Nuit ("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:


Among the aircraft operated by the company were:


See also


  • Mary, Jack. "Aéropostale, les autres lignes: Algérie, Paraguay, Patagonie, Bolivie, Venezuela", 2012, ISBN 978-2-7089-9238-2
  • Binder, Yves Marc & Sophie. "Aéropostale, les carnets de vol de Léopold", 2009, ISBN 978-2-7089-9222-1
  • de Bure, Guillemette. "Les secrets de l’Aéropostale: Les années Bouilloux-Lafont 1926-1944", 2007, ISBN 2708992104
  • Daurat, Didier. "Dans le vent des hélices, témoignage du mythique directeur de la Ligne", passé à la postérité sous le nom de Rivière dans les pages de Vol de nuit
  • Fleury, Jean-Gérard. "La Ligne", ouvrage de référence sur l'Aéropostale rédigé par un journaliste passionné d'aviation et collaborateur de l'industriel René Couzinet
  • Hanson, Patricia King (Executive Editor) and Alan Gevinson (Associate Editor). The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States: 1931-40, Feature Films. Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1993. ISBN 978-0-52007-908-3.
  • Mermoz, Jean Mes Vols (Flammarion, 1937), regroupement posthume de textes du pilote et d'hommages de ses collègues, amis et admirateurs
  • Poivre d'Arvor, Patrick et Olivier. "Courriers de nuit", Place des Victoires, 2003, Mengès, 2004 ; LGF Le Livre de Poche, 2006 (version texte seulement)

External links

This page was last edited on 21 October 2020, at 15:50
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