Aeroport de Sabadell
Ctra. Bellaterra, s/n
08205 - Sabadell
Tel: 93 712 17 91
Fax: 93 746 90 07

català | castellano | english
infinit air

From Paris to Santiago, the story of "Ligne"


Had not yet finished the war when the industrialist Pierre Georges Latécoère conceived the mad project of creating an airline link between France and South americas. "I've reviewed all my calculations altogether, our idea is unworkable, we have only one thing to do, do."

On December 25, Mr. Latécoère Montaudran off from the airport in Toulouse, with the pilot Cornemont aboard a plane Salmson and under the eyes of a few officers aviators, said that people write letters every day: "Post the plane takes off only makes sense if every day ".

Two hours and twenty minutes later, the plane landed at the racecourse Can Tunis Barcelona. The reception was worthy of the feat.


After a lot of work finally, Latécoère, accompanied by the pilot Lemaître, takes off on 8 March with the mission of Toulouse! Reach Morocco!. After a great day, 11 hours and 45 minutes, the plane took land in Rabat. There he hoped the general Liautey being the first to welcome the two messengers arrived from heaven.

Tempted by such a project, decides to subsidize the moment airmail between Morocco and France.

Meanwhile his friend Beppo Massimi of the Spanish government was negotiating with the overflight of the Mediterranean Coast.

In early September, Didier Daurat inaugurated the line Toulouse-Rabat, carrying the first sack of mail aboard a Breguet XIV, thus putting the first stone of an air toward South americas (Buenos Aires).


The postal flights between Toulouse and Casablanca were newspapers. In addition to the transportation of mail, that same year traveled nearly a thousand passengers between France and Africa.


I get a new goal: to connect with Dakar, which is why Beppo-Massimi was obliged to negotiate in Spain scales in Rio de Oro.

On May 3, Captain Roig and his colleagues began the trip with three reconnaissance aircraft Breguet XIV.

The route of 2765 kilometers between Casablanca and Dakar was lost in the desert to meet their hazardous sandstorms, revisions engine under the sun or being caught by the Moors endangering the expedition, their freedom and their lives. All of them make the most of its machines, machines made from the same wood and metal to the same line that opened in 1919.

! Nothing would have been possible without the hands of those great mechanics that every day repairing machines and put in flight!


It makes the first crossing between aero-maritime postal Alicante and Oran in a floatplane piloted by Paul Vachet and accompanied by Juan Munar-Marti, home Majorcan and thus becoming the first radio navigator in the history of aviation.


The first of June, after 18 months of study and preparations, pilots and Lécrivain Emile Edmond Lassalle officially inaugurate the airline Casablanca-Dakar.

By then the line Latécoère totaled 5000 miles of trail and his feat had no precedent in the history of aviation.

But much remained to be done and assigned a new mission to Captain Roig: "Putting the foundations of the Line in South americas."

In Rio de Janeiro, pilots Paul Vachet, Victor Hamm and Etienne Lafay fly to Buenos Aires southward, and Pernambuco toward the North. The three Breguet XIV commissioned for the mission and without infrastructure or support over the jungle and rivers, hoping to find a site for landing on beaches.


There comes a great feat on the South Atlanta: The Commander Ramon Franco and his Spanish crew conducted the first air journey from the Cape Verde islands until Fernando de Noronha.

Months later, on December 3, Pierre Georges Latécoère, landed in Rio aboard the transatlantic Lutetia with a clear objective.


Finally on January 18, Mr. Latécoère leaving Buenos Aires to France carrying contracts for airmail postal acquired after a long and intense negotiations with the governments of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.

But once in Paris, is a great disappointment, The French government is willing to combine the different airlines. Pierre Georges Latécoère decides to sell this new situation "Ligne."

Mr. Marcel Bouilloux-Lafont takes over and becomes the CGE Line Aeropostal.

In this new phase will build new hangars, new stations are installed wireless telegraphy, all in preparation for the new line between Toulouse (Montaudran) and Buenos Aires (Pacheco).


In early March, while Jean Mermoz conducted between Buenos Aires and Rio leg of the first airmail between americas and France, Elisée Negrin off from Toulouse in France to mail americas.

The first days of the expedition were chaotic and the advantage gained on maritime mail during the day is lost at night.

Faced with this situation on April 16, Mermoz imposes night flights taking off from Camp Two Affonso in Rio. The link is a success-Buenos Aires and Rio is done in one day while the ship takes five. Faced with such an event the Argentine people exclaims:! We have achieved and won the game!

In October, and consolidated the line between Toulouse and Buenos Aires works well and when it arises power cross into the Pacific Coast, somewhat complicated task due to the heights of the Andes.

On November 18, Jean Mermoz, accompanied by Alexandre Collenot, conducts a first crossing along the railroad track trasandino but "with great difficulty."


It is determined to find other routes and conduct a more detailed appreciation of the Cordillera.

On March 2, Mermoz and Collenot, accompanied by the Count de La Vaulx, tested a new route to the South by Concepcion but are victims of a forced landing due to a malfunction of the carburetor.

A week later, take off from Copiapo to try another route northward but the crew falls into a trap of high winds causing the plane falls on the plateau of Three Condors. At 15 degrees below zero since 4000 meters high with broken landing gear and prisoners of the Andes. After fifty hours of work and survival instincts, Collenot just to repair the aircraft with their fingers and Mermoz done the impossible:! Starting at Laté 25 of the mountain, to limit its flight altitude.

As a result of this incident Line Aeropostal decide to change the type of plane for a Potez 25 with a roof flying highest and choosing the route between Mendoza and Christ the Redeemer so direct.

Finally on September 3, the pilot Henri Guillaumet, flying solo, performed the official opening of the line between Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile with success.


On Friday, June 13, in the middle of the austral winter Guillaumet pilot is forced to land in the middle of Laguna Diamond because of a storm in the middle Andean cordillera. After five days of survival, crossing on foot hundred kilometres in the snow freezes suffer Guillaumet crosses the Andes in search of help. At the end and after much sacrifice can be reunited with an old friend Saint Exupéry and he confesses "what I've done, no animal would have done."

By then all that remained was to cross the South Atlanta by plane for transport by sea between Dakar and Natal was not fast enough!

Daurat proposed to the president Bouilloux-Lafont to put the plane floats Late 28 for the purpose of transporting mail on Atlanta. On May 12, 1930, 140 kilos of mail from Paris to Toulouse, Barcelona, Casablanca, were transhipped to Laté 28 christened "the Comte de Vaulx" in order to cross the ocean.

At 10h56, the crew consisted of pilot Jean Mermoz, Jean Dabry navigator and radio operator GIMI Leopold, took off from the Senegal River in San Luis. The floatplane turned west, toward the ocean flying flush water drills cycles and struggling against adverse weather conditions.

With mastery and 21 hours after Mermoz manages to reach Natal. Vanier, Reine and Guillaumet took over from Mermoz and carried mail to Santiago de Chile. That day, was inaugurated airline Postal longest in the world, who walked around 13000 miles, "the ambitious and crazy dream of 1918 finally became a reality."


Following successful leap into the South Atlantic, January 16, pilots Mermoz, Carretier and engineer-builder Couzinet took off from St. Louis aboard the "Arc-enCiel" to unite Rio, Montevideo and Buenos Aires flight manages to be a success and establish this new route.

On October 7, the Air minister, Pierre Cot, officially inaugurated the new company Air France.


Starting this year, seaplanes become the protagonists of South Atlanta, while more modern aircraft carried out by land routes.


On June 3, incorporates a 220 Farman exbombardero converted to military and civilian aircraft christened "Le Centaure" crossing the Atlanta so only 14 hours and 52 minutes.


Air France celebrates its one hundred commercial crossing south of Atlanta and the line between Santiago and Buenos Aires are open to passengers wishing to travel aboard a Potez 62.

Unfortunately the December 7 was a sad event, Mermoz, Pichodou, Lavidalie, Eyzan and Cruveilher sent his last message on board the floatplane La Croix de Sud: "For the right rear engine," and followed by a silent ... Guillaumet later pronounced: "They if they have been lucky to die alongside Mermoz."


On November 20, pilots Paul Elbows and Marcel Reine, aboard the "chef Laurent Guerrero Pilote" registered F-APUZ, took off from Le Bourget to Chile to beat a new record flight in just 3 scales and in 58 hours 41 minutes.

Unfortunately in September 1939, the political situation in old Europe, annihilates the beautiful dreams of flying and July 2, 1940, The Line with South americas is interrupted.


After the break of the war on June 23, a DC4 piloted by Commander Jean Dabry, leaves Paris for Santiago, Chile, stops in Casablanca, Dakar, Recife, Rio, Montevideo and finally Buenos Aires. But on September 8, slice Buenos Aires-Santiago was closed for the reason of not having sufficient profitability.


It will take about 15 years for new wings of Air France flying over the Andes and is not until November 2, 1961 that Air France comes back to Chile.


For that time the company linking Paris-Rio-Buenos Aires-Santiago with a rate of two weekly flights to B and 707 in 1964, Air France inaugurated its service "Croix de Sud", with only two scales, becomes the most fast between Europe and Chile.


In 1974, the B 747 began exploited towards South americas and January 21, 1976, Major Pierre Chanoine and its crew made the first commercial flight of Concorde linking Paris to Rio with a stopover in Dakar in just 7 hours and 26 minutes.


On August 31, 1993, the Airbus A 340 makes non-stop in 13 hours and 17 minutes liaison Paris-Buenos Aires, and continues to Santiago. For the first time since the era of heroic pioneers, an airliner manufactured in workshops in Toulouse Chilean reaches the ground. In their cellars brings memories and nostalgia of the workshops and hangars which reflect the shadows of Daurat, Pranville, Delay, Guillauemt, Collenot, Mermoz and his companions, whose feats were told by one of them, Saint Exupéry.


And on March 25, 2001, the commander Gérard Meillat and its crew without any link Paris-scale Santiago aboard a Boeing 777-200 in 14 hours and 20 minutes flight.

At the end was done "the dream Loco" Latécoère.

Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and France-land of human rights-are united by a single link, one skate on the world map.

These Latin American countries have strengths tourist assert as well as a booming economy. It was normal that Air France followed the lead given by their glorious ancestors.

André Gide wrote in his preface to "Vol de Nuit" the following words: "The happiness of man does not live in freedom but in fulfilling a duty."

That wonderful symbol that this line Paris-Buenos Aires-Santiago whose execution was the work of a few exceptional men, filled with the sense of duty and selflessness.

Their exploits are one of the most beautiful pages in the history of aviation.

Aeropostal Route 2007
The team
The machine
The route
A tale of the "Ligne"
Illustrations of the period
Events & Calendar
Press Conference