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The sarcophagus of Ramses II travels on board an Air France Airbus A350


The Air France Cargo teams transported a priceless work of art of inestimable historical value – the sarcophagus of the Egyptian Pharoah Ramses II. This unique object was transported between Cairo and Paris on board a regular Air France flight operated by the Airbus A350 “Biscarosse”.

On arrival at Paris-Charles de Gaulle, the sarcophagus was escorted to the capital, where it will be presented to the public at the “Ramses and the gold of the Pharoahs” exhibition which opens on 7th April at the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris.

Presented to the French public only once before, 45 years ago, the sarcophagus of the Pharoah had not left Egypt since. Although the exhibition will tour a number of major cities around the world, the sarcophagus, as the centrepiece of the exhibition, is being exclusively loaned to France to keep transport to a minimum. This exhibition therefore constitutes a very special occasion for experts and admirers of Egyptology.

Air France Cargo has provided its full range of expertise in handling this extraordinary shipment. Our colleagues have worked with Egyptian and French experts to define and ensure optimal transport conditions at every step of the journey, in line with conservation measures that are as close as possible to those in Cairo.

For 90 years, Air France Cargo has regularly deployed its widely recognized technical expertise in transporting particularly fragile and precious works of art. In recent years, Air France aircraft have carried -

  • 54 works by Pablo Picasso, travelling to Los Angeles,
  • Pages of the original manuscript of St Exupéry’s Little Prince, which flew from New York to be shown at the Paris exhibition “A la rencontre du Petit Prince”; the first time the manuscript had travelled to France.
  • The historic collection of the jeweller Chaumet, which were flown to Tokyo,
  • And the Tyrannosaurus Rex named “Trix”, from the US to Europe.

Air France Cargo has a team dedicated to transporting works of art. Special care is taken with these objects, that require appropriate monitoring and security. Customers, notably the world’s largest museums, can monitor the different stages of transport of the works of art, from palletization to disembarkation. This part of the group’s activity illustrates air transport’s role in creating unique ties between people and cultures, in this case by transporting the world’s most beautiful works of art to different locations around the world for as many people as possible to admire.

The coffin of Ramses II travels aboard an Air France Airbus A350

The exhibition “Ramses II and the Gold of the Pharoahs” will be on display at the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris from 7 April to 6 September, 2023. The Air France-American Express card is the official partner of this event.

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