From a Promotional Product to an Object of Remembrance

Ever since passenger transportation began, many airlines were created but few lasted until today. Most of them disappeared for economic or historical reasons. Their past is often unknown from the general public, even though they played a major pioneering role.

Beyond their memory often carried on from time to time, there is almost nothing left of these companies. So, when rare vestiges such as the model presented here make it through the years, they are more than a collector object, they make us go back in time and reach into our memories.

The registration number F-BEIM confirms that this is a French airline. However, the initials of that company, ‘S.T.A.E.O’, or those of COSARA will not give much indication.

From 1947 to 1955, this airline operated in Indochina, far away from France.  he S.T.A.E.O, Société de Transatlantique Aérienne d’Extrême Orient (and then called Société des Transports Aériens d’Extrême Orient), is one of the pioneer airlines in Indochina where it transported freight, passengers and military troops thanks to Junker 52, and later DC-3 and SO-30P ‘Bretagne’. This was a COSARA affiliate, the exclusive planes charterer. This is why the planes bore both the airline and the company owner initials but also COSARA’s. This is explained by the fact that, beyond the legal distinction between the two companies, from the very beginning, this was the work of one man: Maurice Loubière.

As well as ensuring passenger transport, COSARA played a major role during the Indochina war, especially during 1953 with numerous flights to carry freight, evacuate (free of charge) numbers of wounded and civilians. This is why, in 1951, the company was awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour (Grand Croix de la Légion d’Honneur ) and the Military Medal (médaille militaire) for services rendered.*

However, this airline so closely tied to our national history, has nowadays sunk into oblivion. And this makes this model interesting: a mere promotional object, this item has become a beautiful and moving memento.

This is clearly a local production made of metal sheets (length 35.5 cm / 14 in, wingspan 53.3 cm / 21 in). The model is hollow with windows and openwork cockpit window panes. This particular feature made it likely more fragile and is the cause of many faults and accidents. The missing stand may have been made of a metal stem resting on an Indochina-shaped wooden base.

This is not one of those badly deteriorated agency models. It is an extremely rare piece that reminds us of an airline tied as no other company to the history of France.

* For more details about the STAEO/Cosara see the article (in French) «Cosara, une compagnie d'aviation qui restera l'aventure d'un homme : Maurice Loubière» published in the site Saïgon/Vietnam.fr.


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DC-3 model with the colors of the French S.T.A.E.O./Cosara Airlines, metal sheets (c. 1950)
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