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Compagnie Atlantique de Navigation Aérienne (Airline, France)


Last modified: 2014-05-24 by ivan sache
Keywords: compagnie atlantique de navigation aerienne |
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[Flag of CANA]

House flag of C.A.N.A. - Image by Ivan Sache, 24 April 2005

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Presentation of C.A.N.A.

The C.A.N.A. was founded in 1922 to establish a scheduled line between Bordeaux and South America. The project was launched by the Chamber of Commerce of Bordeaux, presided by Étienne Huyard, to compete with Toulouse, then the center of the emerging aviation industry. The Comité Aéronautique du Sud-Ouest (C.A.S.O.) was founded with the support of main shipping companies, such as the Messageries Maritimes, Chargeurs Réunis and the Compagnie de Navigation Sud-Atlantique.
The South American line was drafted as follows:
- Bordeaux-Dakar (Senegal), by hydroplane - to avoid to fly over hostile areas in Mauritania and to follow maritime law rather than emerging air law;
- Dakar-Pernambuco (Brazil), by modern ships;
- Pernambuc-Rio de Janeiro (Brasil)-Buenos Aires (Argentina), by hydroplane.

While the South American line would never exist, the C.A.N.A. operated the first scheduled line to French West Africa. The C.A.N.A. expected to establish a monopoly on Dakar, where its main rival from Toulouse, Latécoère, had not settled yet. The Comité aérien France-Outremer was established as a lobbying agency. State funding of new airlines was discussed in November 1922 at the National Assembly, while representatives from the C.A.N.A. participated to the celebration of the centenary of the independence of Brazil. The lobbying efforts resulted in the allocation to the C.A.N.A. of a State grant of 7,000,000 francs for 12 experimental flights on the Dakar-Saint Louis and Dakar-Kayes-Bamako lines, already marked in winter 1921.
The company purchased two Caudron airplanes and hired three experienced pilots but was not successful. After one year of existence, the C.A.N.A. had made only 15 flights, transporting 44 passengers but no postal freight. Considering that the C.A.N.A. had failed, the State refused to renew the grant in 1924. One of the two airplanes owned by the company was destroyed on 10 August 1923 by a tornado in Kefferine (Senegal). Moreover, Pierre-Georges Latécoère used all means to destabilize the company, supporting political opposition to its leaders in Bordeaux.

The C.A.N.A. attempted to raise funds by issuing shares on 14 January 1924, with little, if any, success. On 9 September 1924, the company required financial support by the General Council of Gironde, obtaining only "encouragement" and "moral support". The C.A.N.A. appears to have run out of business in late 1924, although a newspaper article published in 1925 still mentions the Dakar-Kayes line. In May 1925, L'Aérophile deplored "the suppression of colonial aviation that had not had the time to fully reach its objectives".
The C.A.S.O. was dissolved on 4 May 1926, while the C.A.N.A. was put into compulsory liquidation on 15 June 1927.

[Crezan Aviation website]

Ivan Sache, 9 March 2014

House flag of C.A.N.A.

The house flag of C.A.N.A., as shown on a share emitted on 14 January 1924, is a triangular flag horizontally divided blue-white-blue with the red letters "C.A.N.A." in the white stripe.

Jan Mertens & Ivan Sache, 24 April 2005