CGTA and CAT merged on 23 May 1953 (1953-05-23) to form the Compagnie Générale de Transports Aériens Air Algérie, with a combined fleet that included one Breguet 761, six Bretagnes, five DC-3s and three DC-4s. Following merger, Air Algérie commenced seasonal services to Ajaccio, Clermont, Montpellier and Perpignan. Furthermore, Switzerland was added to the regular schedule, a stop at Palma was performed on a weekly basis in partnership with Aviaco, and most of the trans-Mediterranean routes were operated in a pool agreement with Air France, with the French carrier flying 54% of these services and the remainder was left for Air Algérie. Flights to the Cote d'Azur were added in the late 1950s.
Two Noratlas aircraft were acquired in July 1957 (1957-07), with a third entering the fleet in July the following year. The carrier became the first French private one in ordering the Caravelle in early 1958, the first of which was handed over by the manufacturer in January 1960 (1960-01). Following delivery, the aircraft was deployed on the Algiers-Paris route. The type was also used to fly Paris-Bône and Paris-Oran services in the subsequent months. By April 1960 (1960-04), the aircraft park consisted of three Caravelles, three DC-3s, ten DC-4s, two Lockheed L-749 Constellations, and three Noratlases. The Caravelles were gradually deployed on the routes previously flown with the Constellations and the DC-4s, which were used for cargo services or sold.
Two shipping companies, Compagnie Générale Transatlantique and Compagnie de Navigation Mixte, were the owners of a majority stake (98%) in Air Algérie until Algeria gained its independence in 1962. Following independence, the Délégation Générale in Algeria and Air France took over a controlling interest. The financial structure changed in March 1963 (1963-03), when the shipping companies and Air France ceded a 31% interest, and the Algerian government took possession of 51% of the company assets, with the airline gaining flag carrier status. In April 1964 (1964-04), the government increased the participation in the airline to 57%. That month, a contract was signed for the acquisition of two Ilyushin Il-18s aimed at operating the Algiers-Moscow service. Air Algérie took delivery of just one of these aircraft, as the contract was later cancelled. The sole Il-18 in the fleet was used by the government. There were eight DC-4s in the airline's fleet by April 1968 (1968-04). That year, four ex-LufthansaConvair 440s were bought and converted to the 640 version. These aircraft came to replace the ageing DC-4s. Charter operations made up to 20% of the airline activities.
By March 1970 (1970-03), the government was the owner of 83% of the company; at this time, a Boeing 737-200, five Caravelles, four CV-640s, three DC-3s and one DC-4 were part of the fleet.Société de Travail Aérien, a domestic carrier that had been founded in 1968, was taken over by Air Algérie in May 1972 (1972-05). In August, three Fokker F27-400s were ordered for £2.5 million. In September, with a second Boeing 737 pending delivery, two more aircraft of the type --one of them a convertible model-- were ordered. That year, the government of Algeria boosted its participation in the carrier to 100% when it acquired the remaining 17.74% stake held by Air France. A new route to Karachi was inaugurated in 1975. In November 1979 (1979-11), four Boeing 727s were ordered in a deal worth US$62 million.
The first Boeing 767-300 was handed over by the aircraft manufacturer in mid-1990. That year, the carrier entered a process of restructuring that would last until 1995, following years of losses that totalled US$64,000,000 (equivalent to $126,777,382 in 2020) only for 1990, with debts rising to US$402 million after a devaluation of the local currency. Restructuring seemingly bore fruit, as the company made a profit of US$14.5 million in 1992.
Air Algérie became a limited company in 1997. In 2006 its capital amounted to 57 billion dinars (about 560 million euros).
The sales network comprises 150 agencies in Algeria and abroad, linked to the booking system and distributed through GDS to which Air Algérie has subscribed.
Air Algérie is a Joint Stock Company (J.S.C) the registered capital of which is 43.000.000.000,00 DA.
In November 2010 (2010-11), Air Algérie announced an investment of EUR400 million to renew its fleet, to be launched in 2011.
As of July 2018[update], Bakhouche Alleche is the chief executive officer of the company.
The Air Algérie logo was created in 1966 in Algiers, and has never been changed or modified since then. On 21 June 2011, the company officially announced that the logo is a swallow. This bird is a national Algerian symbol.
In June 2007 (2007-06), Air Algérie inaugurated the Algiers-Montreal route. Flights to Beijing were launched in February 2009 (2009-02). As of September 2012[update], Air Algérie has a 46% market share on international routes; the airline was the leading operator for flights between Algeria and Spain, and six of ten of its international routes with highest seat availability served France.
As of October 2015[update], the carrier serves a domestic network that comprises 32 destinations within Algeria, including its hub at Houari Boumediene Airport, plus an international network that serve 43 more cities.
Ten Next Generation 737s--seven-800s and three-600s--were ordered in 1998 to replace the ageing Boeing 727-200s and Boeing 737-200s; the 737-600 commitment was later increased to include two more aircraft. The first Boeing 737-800 included in this order was handed over by the airframer in August 2000 (2000-08). When the first Boeing 737-600 was delivered to the company in May 2002 (2002-05), Air Algérie became the fifth airline worldwide in operating the type.
Five Airbus A330-200s were ordered in late 2003, along with nine ATR72-500s--six of them taken over from and order previously placed by Khalifa Airways. The former type would act as a replacement for the two Airbus A310s, a Boeing 747-200 and three Boeing 767-300s, while the latter would replace the seven-strong Fokker F27 fleet. Four more ATR72-500s were ordered in 2009 at a cost of approximately US$82 million, with the first of these 66-seater four turboprop machines being phased-in in February 2010 (2010-02). Also in 2009, during the Dubai Airshow, Air Algérie announced the purchase of seven additional Boeing 737-800s. In April 2011 (2011-04), the fourth aircraft from this order became the 50th Boeing jetliner delivered to the company.
In November 2012 (2012-11), the airline announced an investment worth EUR600 million for the incorporation of eight aircraft, two of them freighters, between 2012 and 2016. Air Algérie had its IOSA certification renewed in December 2012 (2012-12), for a period of two years. In February 2013 (2013-02), unofficial announcements disclosed the airline has ordered three additional Airbus A330-200s, five additional Boeing 737-800s. It was also reported the carrier's intention of deploying the new A330s on new routes to Johannesburg, New York, Shanghai and São Paulo.
The airline launched in April 2013 (2013-04) a tender for the acquisition of 14 passenger and two cargo aircraft. Plans for the purchase of new equipment worth US$762 million (EUR556 million), including three 250-seater airframes to replace the ageing Boeing 767s, were disclosed again in December 2013 (2013-12); already in November, Air Algérie signed a letter of intent with Airbus for three Airbus A330-200s at the 2013 Dubair Air Show. In January 2014 (2014-01), three 68-seater ATR 72-600s were ordered, and a commitment for eight Boeing 737-800s, valued at US$724 million at list prices, was signed with Boeing. The ATR order will make Air Algérie the largest operator of the type within Africa. In May the same year, two Boeing 737-700Cs were ordered for US$152 million. Air Algérie first ATR 72-600 was handed over to the company in December 2014 (2014-12).
On 19 May 1960 at 9:46 UTC, a mid-air collision occurred 13 miles away from Paris-Orly Airport, involving an Air Algérie Sud Aviation Caravelle (registered F-OBNI) on a scheduled passenger flight from Algiers and a small privately owned Stampe SV.4biplane (F-BDEV). The Stampe was completely destroyed upon impact, killing the sole pilot on board. The cabin roof of the Caravelle was torn open by debris, especially caused by the propeller blades of the biplane. Its two jet engines stopped due to sucked in debris, but could be restarted almost immediately, allowing for a safe landing. There were no fatalities amongst the 32 passengers and 7 crew members of the Air Algérie flight, and the aircraft could later be repaired.
On 26 July 1969 a fire broke out on board an Air Algérie Sud Aviation Caravelle (registered 7T-VAK), which likely had been caused by an electric malfunction. The aircraft was on a chartered passenger flight from Marseille to Biskra, and the pilots tried for an emergency landing at Oued Irara - Krim Belkacem Airport, but the plane was quickly engulfed by flames and crashed, killing all 30 passengers and 7 crew members.
On 24 January 1979 at around 19:40 local time, an Air Algérie Aérospatiale N 262 (registered 7T-VSU) crashed 15 kilometres short of the runway of Boudghene Ben Ali Lotfi Airport, resulting in the death of 14 out of the 20 passengers on board. The three crew members survived the accident, which was blamed on the malfunction of an altimeter (as the approach was performed too low), coinciding with pilot error and fatigue.
On 30 October 1951, an Air Algérie Sud-Ouest Bretagne (registered F-OAIY) caught fire and was subsequently destroyed at Paris-Orly Airport, following the sudden collapse of the right main landing gear during take-off run. All 30 passengers and 4 crew members on board could be saved.
On 2 August 1996, an Air Algérie Boeing 737-200 (registered 7T-VED) overran the runway at Tlemcen Airport in an attempt to abort the take-off for a scheduled flight to Algiers. There were no fatalities among the 100 passengers and 6 crew members on board, even though the aircraft was substantially damaged.
Another runway overshot involving an Air Algérie Boeing 737-200 (this time 7T-VEH) occurred on 31 January 1999. Upon landing at Constantine Airfield in unusual snowy conditions following a flight from Paris, the aircraft was severely damaged when it overshot the runway and struck a heap of snow. There were no casualties among the 92 passengers and 7 crew members.
On 18 March 2006 at 10:30 local time, the right main landing gear of an Air Algérie Boeing 737-600 (registered 7T-VJQ) collapsed upon landing in poor weather conditions at Seville Airport following a flight from Oran. Approximately 45 out of the 101 passengers and 6 crew members on board were injured.
On 31 August 1970, three passengers armed with pistols and molotov cocktails hijacked an Air Algérie Convair CV-640 on a scheduled domestic flight from Annaba to Algiers and demanded the pilots to head to Albania instead. During a fuel stop in Brindisi, eleven passengers were allowed to leave the aircraft. As the aircraft was denied landing permission by the Albanian authorities, it diverted to Dubrovnik in then Yugoslavia instead, where the perpetrators could be arrested.
On 25 July 1996 at around 9:00 local time, an Air Algérie Boeing 767-300 with 232 persons on board was hijacked at Oran Es Sénia Airport by a man who demanded to be flown to the United States, rather than to Algiers where the aircraft had been scheduled to leave for. After more than four hours of negotiation he surrendered to the local authorities.
On 19 January 2003, Air Algérie Flight 6025 from Constantine to Algiers was hijacked shortly after take-off by a man who demanded the pilots to fly the Boeing 737-800 to North Korea. The flight continued to Algiers, though, where the perpetrator could be restrained by police forces storming the aircraft. None of the 24 other passengers and 6 crew members were injured.
On 19 August 2003, an Air Algérie Boeing 737-800 was hijacked by a mentally-ill passenger right after take-off from Houari Boumedienne Airport, who threatened to blow up the aircraft when the crew would not divert to Geneva (rather than to Lille as the flight was scheduled to). The crew carried out an allegedly necessary fuel stop at Oran Es Sénia Airport, where the man could be arrested.
^"Our Branches." Air Algérie. Retrieved on 10 February 2011. English: "HeadQuarters Address AIR ALGÉRIE 1, PLACE MAURICE AUDIN ALGER- ALGÉRIE" French: "Direction Générale SIÉGE social AIR ALGÉRIE 1, PLACE MAURICE AUDIN ALGER- ALGÉRIE"
^"World Airline Directory." Flight International. 30 March 1985. 33." Retrieved on 17 June 2009. "Head Office: 1 Place Maurice Audin, Immeuble El-Djazair, Algiers, Algeria."
^ abcd"Air commerce". Flight. 5 February 1960. Archived from the original on 18 January 2013. Retrieved 2013. Pictured outside the Sud factory and control tower at Toulouse is the first Carayelle for Air Algerie, delivery of which was accepted early last month. It has been in service for nearly five weeks.
^ abc"Brevities". Flight. 77 (2655): 163. 29 January 1960. Archived from the original on 25 August 2013. The first Caravelle for Air Algerie was accepted by the president and general manager of the airline, M Jean Richard-Deshais, at Toulouse on 6 January. The aircraft entered service on the route between Algiers and Paris on 12 January.
^"World news - Two Algerian 737s". Flight International. 102 (3315): 383. 21 September 1972. Archived from the original on 24 August 2013. Air Algerie has ordered two more Advanced Boeing 737s --its third and fourth-- for delivery in May and November next year. The first of these will be a -200C convertible model; the other, a passenger model. Air Algerie will take delivery of its second 737 next month.
^"Airliner market". Flight International. 116 (3686): 1551. 10 November 1979. Archived from the original on 31 August 2013. Air Algerie has ordered four Boeing 727s for delivery in March 1980 and March 1981, at a total cost of $62 million.
^"World news". Flight International. 119 (3764): 1992. 27 June 1981. Archived from the original on 14 September 2013. This first (of three) Air Algerie Lockheed L-100-30s is due to be delivered this month.