Air France and Canada: let’s celebrate a 70-year love story

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Happy birthday, Air France KLM.Air France KLM organized a virtual event on Thursday to celebrate 70 years of service between France and Canada.

It was a remarkable journey that began with an almost 14 hour flight from Paris to Montreal in 1950, with stops in Shannon, Ireland, and Gander, Newfoundland. They saw ’60s beehive hairstyles, smoking sections, 747 giant jets, and sleek A380 planes with custom TV screens and more.

Catherine Guillemart-Dias, vice president and general manager, Canada, of Air France KLM, who took over the post in early August, said it was an adjustment.

“I would like to thank all of our travel agents who have been looking after our customers since the beginning of March,” she said. “Air France KLM has taken exceptional measures with our customers and also to facilitate the work of travel agents.”

Guillemart-Dias said that more than 700 agents handle booking changes, refunds and credit vouchers for Air France KLM customers.

CEO Ben Smith thanked Air France KLM teams for seven decades of service.

“Our history in Canada is a fantastic trip with great teams,” he said.

Air France KLM employs 140 people in several Canadian cities. In addition to going to Montreal, the airline now serves Toronto and Vancouver.

Henri de Peyrelongue, executive vice president of commercial sales, said he was sorry not to be able to come to Canada to celebrate the occasion.

“Expectations have changed over the past six months, causing changes in the way we deal with health and safety, the world around us and the way we behave,” said Peyrelongue. “Our main priority in the midst of this difficult crisis is the well-being of our customers and our employees.

“We have worked hard to meet health and safety expectations by implementing the highest standards at every step of the travel chain,” he said. “We have also, in response to your legitimate requests for more flexibility in these uncertain times, adapted our sales policy to allow you, if you wish, to modify your reservation or to obtain a refund or a credit voucher. ”

Before the covid, 680,000 French visitors came to Canada each year and an astonishing 1.2 million Canadians visited France, officials said.

Air France KLM has been at the forefront of technological change, including measures to reduce CO2 emissions, reduce noise, reduce fuel consumption and other measures, such as WiFi on board.

Christina Wendland, manager of Air France KLM station in Toronto, said she spent three months in France when she started with the company and helped plot routes for pilots using weather forecasts, forecasts wind and navigation charts. It would take two or three hours to plan a flight; something that computers now do in minutes.

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