Back in the early nineteen I made several visit's to the city of Paris, thereby taking the opportunity to visit the aviation museum at Le Bourget, the Paris Salon and the international airport of Orly. These where mixed trips either by car and/or train. My spotting trip to Orly was by car and I remember when we arrived we found a nice spot at a car-park in order to photograph some of the taxing airliners. At the time you still had to be careful with the French police. Later on the day we moved to the terminal and photographed from the viewing terrace behind glass. The weather wasn't perfect…but here are some of my some snapshot's from the terrace.
Paris-Orly Airport (IATA: ORY, ICAO: LFPO) is an airport located partially in Orly and partially in Villeneuve-le-Roi, 7 miles (13 km south of Paris), France. It a major hub for cities in Europe the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean, North America and Southeast Asia. Prior to the construction of Charles de Gaulle Airport, Orly was the main airport of Paris. Even with the shift of most international traffic to Charles de Gaulle Airport, Orly remains the busiest French airport for domestic traffic and the second busiest French airport overall in terms of passenger boarding with 26,441,000 (2007).
Orly Airport extends over 15.3 km² (5.9 sq. miles) of land. It straddles two departments and seven communes. Management of the airport, however, is solely under the authority of Aéroports de Paris, which also manages Charles de Gaulle Airport, Le Bourget Airport, and several smaller airports in the suburbs of Paris. Orly Airport has two terminals: West and South. Originally known as Villeneuve-Orly Airport, the facility was opened in the southern suburbs of Paris in 1932 as a secondary airport to Le Bourget. Before this two huge airship hangars had been built there by the famous engineer Eugène Freyssinet from 1923 onwards.
As a result of the Battle of France in 1940, Orly Airport was used by the occupying German Luftwaffe as a combat airfield, stationing various fighter and bomber units at the airport throughout the occupation. As a result, Orly was repeatedly attacked by the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Force (USAAF), destroying much of its infrastructure, and leaving its runways with numerous bomb craters to limit its usefulness by the Germans. After the Battle of Normandy and the retreat of German forces from the Paris area in August 1944, Orly was partially repaired by USAAF combat engineers and was used by Ninth Air Force as tactical airfield A-47. The 50th Fighter Group flew P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bomber aircraft from the airport until September, and then liaison squadrons used the airfield until October 1945.
Until March 1947 the American United States Army Air Force 1408th Army Air Force Base Unit was the primary operator at Orly Field, when control was returned to the French Government. Orly was reactivated as a commercial airport on 1 January 1948; however the United States Air Force leased a small portion of the Airport as an air transport facility primarily supporting Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) at Rocquencourt. The Americans left in 1967 as a result of France's withdrawal from NATO's integrated military command, and all non-French NATO forces were asked to leave France.
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