Established in in 1981 in Rungis, France as Corse Air International by the Corsican Rossi family, the airline started operations in mid-May, 1981.
Between 1981 and 1986, the airline’s fleet consisted of 4 Sud Aviation SE 210 Caravelle jets.
In 1987, two Boeing 737-300 aircraft joined the fleet.
In 1990, Nouvelles Frontières, a French tour operator, took over Corse Air International. The name changes to Corsair and a Boeing 747-100 is acquired.
One year later, the second 747-100 joins the fleet, and international flights are introduced to La Réunion, Bangkok, Montréal, New York, Dakar and Los Angeles.
Between 1992 and 2000, Corsair continued to renew its fleet, and new routes were added to the existing network.
In 2000 TUI AG, a world leading tour operator group, took over Nouvelles Frontières.
In 2003, the website corsair.fr was released, and new scheduled flights to various destinations were introduced, using Toulouse as departure point.
In 2004, Corsair aircraft were repainted with the colours of TUI, but at the end of 2005, the TUI Group, decided to rename all its affiliated airlines TUIfly. As a temporary solution, Corsair aircraft were repainted with Corsairfly markings.
During the same period, a Boeing 747-400 joined the Corsair fleet, while the old 747s started being upgraded to the 747-400, all receiving 587 seats and helping the airline grab the world record for most seats on a passenger aircraft.
On the 1st of January, 2007, Corsair becomes Corsairfly, and in late June, an Airbus A330-200 belonging to Corsairfly flies from Paris to Dzaoudzi for the first time.
In 2008, introduces two new routes: Paris-Tel-Aviv and Paris-Québec, both direct flights. Online check-in is also introduced during 2008.
In May 2010, Corsairfly announced a plan called ‘Takeoff 2012’, targeting to bring the company to break-even in 2014 and to modernise the airline. This plan included a reduction of workforce by 25%, the replacement of 3 Boeing 747-400 by 2 Airbus A330-300, the refurbishment of all aircraft cabins, the adjustment of its network (including dropping Dominican Republic, Israel, Kenya, Quebec City, and Moncton), and consolidation of routes to southern Africa and the Caribbean.
In March 2012, as part of the total revamp of the company, the airline announced it was changing its name to Corsair International. As part of the rebranding as Corsair International, the fleet has been repainted from its Corsairfly and TUI livery to the new “shades of blue” livery.
From July 2012 to May 2013, the airline has embarked on a thorough transformation with the target to meet the needs of its increasingly numerous business passengers. All aircraft has been refurbished to expand the Grand Large class to 26 seats for each of the four Airbus A 330 aircrafts (two of which have been newly constructed by Airbus) and 36 seats for each of the three Boeing 747s.
By 2014, Corsair repositioned itself from a leisure carrier that sold seats as part of holiday packages to a regular long-haul airline offering a dense flight programme to the French Antilles, Indian Ocean, Africa and North America with a fleet of seven wide-body planes.
In 2015, TUI Group was preparing to sell Corsair International. In February, TUI AG agreed to sell Corsair International to Groupe Dubreuil, which is also the owner of Air Caraibes. In March, the negotiations failed after Groupe Dubreuil encountered a strong opposition from the airline’s unions.
In June 2017, Corsair opened a new route to the Caribbean, starting twice-weekly flights to Havana.
In May 2018, it was revealed that two parties are interested in acquiring a stake in Corsair, a Ferman investor, Intro Aviation, and a Chinese investor, one of the shareholders in Loong Air. TUI, Corsair’s parent company, is considering the bids of both companies, but the Chinese investor, being a foreign company, would be capped at a 49.9% stake.
No fatal accidents involving Corsair aircraft have been recorded so far.