COSARA (Comptoirs Saigonnais de Ravitaillements) was a Vietnamese aviation and transport company founded by Maurice Loubière. The company's office was located at 5–13, Turc Street, Saigon - now Hô Huân Nghiêp, Ho Chi Minh City.
Origin of the companyEdit
Loubière was posted to the French 4th Colonial Artillery Regiment, based in Hanoi in 1929, to undertake his military service. He sailed from France of the Chargeurs Réunis. Once in Hanoi he learnt Vietnamese and became the Regiment's interpreter. In September 1942, he started his own business, Les Comptoirs des Industries Locales, which provided provisions for the Army. Indo-China was controlled by the French Vichy government at this time although occupied by the Japanese.
0n 9 September 1947 Loubière, along with one of his Vietnamese friends, founded COSARA (Comptoirs Saigonnais de Ravitaillements). The company's aim was to air freight supplies to army units scattered around Vietnam by using the airfields built by the Japanese during World War II.
In September 1947 COSARA leased an Amiot AAC.1 Toucan from STA (Société Transatlantique Aérienne). The company was also granted the right to carry passengers between Saigon and Sóc Trăng, Phnom-Penh, and Laos. A second AAC.1 was leased from STA that same year. STA also became a shareholder in COSARA. During the same period COSARA also ran a trucking business to carry supplies from the airports to there destinations. In 1948 COSARA added three Swissair Douglas C-47’s to its fleet.
An aviation branch, STAEO (Société Transatlantique Aérienne d’Extrême-Orient) was set up as a subsidiary of COSARA. The passenger routes were expanded to include Tourane, Huế, Hanoi, and Tranninh. By 1950 these were expanded again to include Phan Thiết, and Vientiane.
In 1949 COSARA provided assistance to the French Army during the First Indochina War by evacuating wounded soldiers from Sóc Trăng at its own expense. A gesture that earned the praise of General Blaizot . In 1952 COSARA was nominated for the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor military medal for transporting 230 military passengers from Saigon to Hanoi between 10 and 12 December 1951. Also that same year a COSARA C-47 was shot down on takeoff by the Viet Minh at Phan Thiet.
COSARA participated in Operation Cognac evacuating 6,000 people from North Vietnam to South Vietnam between 22 August and 4 October 1954.
Growth and humanitarian aidEdit
Four additional C-47s were added to COSARA's fleet between 1951 and 1953 and two Sud-Ouest SO.30 Bretagne's were added on 24 July 1952. The SO30s were named Bac Hac and Van Huong From 1953 to 1954 a further two C47s were added to the fleet along with five SO30s.
During 1953 COSARA under its Vietnamese managing director, Mr Phạm Hòe, provided assistance to the Vietnamese Red Cross, transporting medical staff and supplies.
On 20 July 1954 Vietnam was partitioned into North and South Vietnam and by 1955 COSARA had ceased flying. Its C-47s were sold to Air Vietnam and its SO30s to the French Navy. Its operations base at Tan Son Nhut was taken over by Air Vietnam and became an International Airport.
Maurice Loubière returned to France after the company ceased operations.
Aircraft operated by COSARAEdit
Link for a detailed list of COSARA aircraft
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-06-17. Retrieved 2014-10-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Lê Văn Trá. L’oeuvre de la Croix Rouge Vietnamienne – Une longue interview du Dr Hồ Văn Nhựt. L'ami du peuple, Saigon, 26 Juillet 1953. Directeur–Fondateur: Nguyễn Thế Truyền