Air Madagascar - History - Formative Years

Formative Years

Air Madagascar was formed in March 1947 by Transports Aériens Intercontinentaux in order to feed into flights by TAI and Air France. The airline began operations with two Air France Douglas DC-3s and six de Havilland D.H.89 Dragon Rapides. In 1957 TAI and Messageries Maritimes acquired shares in the airline, and in 1958 a third DC-3 was added to the fleet. In 1961 the Malagasy government, Air France and TAI reorganised the airline. In April 1961 the airline was renamed Madair and became the flag carrier for the newly independent republic. On 23 August 1961, the status of Société Nationale Malgache des Transports Aériens, MADAIR was approved by decree. On 20 October 1961 a service from Antananarivo-Paris, via Djibouti, with a Douglas DC-7 leased from TAI was inaugurated. Société Nationale Malgache des Transports Aériens, MADAIR was created on 13 November 1961, with a working capital of 400 million CFA Francs, 447 employees, and a fleet comprising two Douglas DC-4s, seven DC-3s and four Dragon Rapides. The government held 20%, Air France 44% and TAI 36% shareholdings, and the government held an option to increase its shareholding to some 65%.

On 1 January 1962, Madair took over service to some 58 points in Madagascar, and on 14 October the name of the airline was changed to Air Madagascar, because of a negative image of the name Madair. In 1962 Air Madagascar carried 103,000 passengers, 7,500 tons of freight and 375 tons of mail and flew a distance of 2,400,000 kilometres (1,500,000 mi). On 31 December 1962, the company was renamed to Société Nationale Malgache des Transports Aériens — Air Madagascar. A DC-3 of the airline crashed at Farafangana on 15 July 1963, killing five people. Flights to the Comoro Islands with DC-4s began in 1963. On 14 May 1963, the Malagasy government increased its share capital to 460 million CFA frances, and its shareholding from 20 to 30.44%.

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