Le Bourget Airport in Paris
The Aeroport de Paris-Le Bourget is the oldest airport in Paris that is now one of the most active airports in Europe, yet is famous for the first transatlantic flight of Charles Lindbergh and is now home to the museum in Paris dedicated to aviation and the Paris Air Show.
The beginnings of Le Bourget Airport in Paris
With an official name of Aeroport de Paris-Le Bourget the land for the airport was originally acquisitioned for military purposes for World War I, and many famous pilots performed their missions from Le Bourget Airport, which at the time was the main military base.
However, after World War I some of the facilities were reverted to civil aviation and the first airport in Paris started commercial operation in 1919 with business flights between Paris and London and Paris and Brussels.
In 1927 a biplane had taken off from here in an attempt to do a transatlantic flight, but unfortunately disappeared, yet only two week later, the Le Bourget Airport became famous as the landing site for the historical solo flight of Charles Lindbergh who successfully arrived on the transatlantic flight from New York to Paris.
But it was in 1930 that saw the first successful transatlantic flight from Paris to New York by the pilots Dieudonne Costes and Maurice Bellonte, and then the Orly airport in Paris was opened in 1932 to support Le Bourget with its increased traffic.
Yet it was only a few years later in 1937 and in conjunction with the World Fair in Paris that a new terminal was constructed, which was designed by the architect Georges Labro and the inauguration took place at the Universal Exhibition in the presence of the French Present Albert Lebrun.
Le Bourget in World War II through to the present
However, when World War II broke out and Paris became occupied by the Germans, the Aeroport de Paris-Le Bourget was also taken over and at this time they constructed new concrete runways.
And in fact, in 1940 Adolf Hitler landed here to start his only tour of Paris, but as you can no doubt imagine, this airport was bombed on many different occasions during the war. Yet it was eventually restored after the liberation of Paris in 1944 and from the May of 1945 there were around 42,000 prisoners of war that were repatriated through Le Bourget airport.
After World War II had come to an end, air traffic increased rapidly, especially in the civil aviation arena and by 1952 the city of Paris decided to adopt Orly as the main airport for Paris.
And so, from 1953 Le Bourget was to become the site that hosts the Salon International de l’Aeronautique et de l’Espace - Paris Le Bourget or the Paris Air Show as it is also known, which is held every other year and is now the largest aviation show of its kind in the world.
But by the 1960s the Orly airport was becoming over saturated with the number of flights and this resulted in the Bourget airport being utilised for commercial flights and business flights once again.
Yet by the start of the 1970s flights had increased substantially and even the two Paris airports could not cope with the demand and it was decided that a new airport had to be constructed, so by 1973 the Roissy-en-France airport, which is now known as the Charles de Gaulle airport, was put into operation.
Also the Musee de l’Air et de l’Espace museum was moved to the Aeroport de Paris-Le Bourget in the same year that the Charles de Gaulle airport opened, and being the oldest aviation museum in the world, it still remains here today.
However, with the disappearance of commercial traffic in 1977 Le Bourget converted to business needs of the aviation industry and has now become one of the most active airports in Europe, and this does mean that there are still flights available to this airport from many different destinations.