Mass air travel and new technology
The arrival of wide-bodied aircraft with 300 to 500 seats ( Airbus A300, Boeing 747) opened up air travel to a larger number of people. However, it coincided with the world economic crisis and rising fuel prices triggered by the first oil crisis in 1973, followed by the second in 1979.
This shook up the economics of air travel and competition became even fiercer. Price wars, the haphazard development of charter airlines, and chronic overcapacity characterized this period.
Air France coped with the situation by diversifying its offer and developing its cargo operations. It became one of the first airlines in the world to become committed to developing mass air travel, notably with travel promotions such as Vols Vacances. It introduced its Business Class (1981), followed by Air France Le Club (1983) to meet the demands of its business customers.
As for Air Inter, the French domestic carrier innovated with tricolor flights and tiered pricing adapted to all budgets, depending on flight schedules.
Paris-Charles de Gaulle Terminal 1
In 1974, Air France and UTA moved into the new airport, Paris-Charles de Gaulle terminal 1. Air France was the launch airline for the Airbus A300, Europe's first medium-haul wide-bodied aircraft. UTA operated the Douglas DC10, first flying it in 1973 as part of the technical cooperation with KLM, SAS and Swissair (KSSU Group)
Paris-Charles de Gaulle Terminal 2
In 1982, Air France moved into the state-of-the-art terminal at Paris-Charles de Gaulle terminal 2. It served as a base for conquering the European market with a small medium-sized aircraft, the Boeing 737, which replaced the Caravelle.
Supersonic air travel
On 21 january 1976, Air France introduced the supersonic Concorde on the Paris-Dakar-Rio de Janeiro route. The pride of the French and British aeronautics industry, it came onto the scene at a difficult time from an economic point of view. No aircraft built since has fulfilled such dreams as has the Concorde. It flies at Mach 2 speed ( 2,200 mph).
In 1983, Air France celebrated its 50th birthday. With a workforce of 34,600 employees, a fleet of 99 aircraft and a network covering 634,400 km with 150 destinations in 73 countries, it was quiteimpressive. It ranked 4th worldwide for the number of passengers carried, and 2nd worldwide for cargo. It was the 3rd ranking French export company, and the first-ranking French service export company.
In june 1987, Air France Iberia, Lufthansa ans DAS jointly developed a new global distribution system (GDS) - AMADEUS - which was able to compete with the large-scale American systems.
In july 1987, Air France introduced inflight video on all its long-haul Airbus A300s, then on all its Boeing 747s.
In 1988, Air France and Air Inter took a major technological step forward with the Airbus A 320, the first fly-by-wire plane.
On 1 july 1988, the dergulation of the European air transport industry, due to be fully implemented by 1993, was gradually phased in. Competition increased significantly and became the norm.