Air Djibouti was established in April 1963. Scheduled operations commenced in April of the following year, with a fleet of Bristol 170, De Havilland Dragon Rapide and Beechcraft Model 18 aircraft. In 1970, the airline was taken over by the Air France subsidiary Air Somali, which was founded in 1962. Both airlines merged in 1971. The newly independent Republic of Djibouti participated in 1977 with a 62.5% share in the company. The state later acquired a 90% stake in the carrier when in early 1981 it bought additional shares of Air France.