Sunday, November 17, 2013
The complete network schedule for ASKY Airlines from this spring, helpfully published in their in-flight magazine, detailing their weekly timetable for flights between twenty cities in West and Central Africa, from Banjul to Bamako to Brazzaville.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Decades before it spanned to five continents, Ethiopian Airlines was still a leading carrier, yet with a more modest reach. This vintage advert from a mid-century magazine emphasizes Ethiopian's Frankfurt-Athens-Cairo-Asmara-Addis Ababa-Nairobi axis, flown overnight aboard the luxurious DC-6B. The Queen of Sheba's secondary east-west routes to Khartoum, Djibouti and Aden are also shown.
Friday, November 8, 2013
Nearly twenty Ethiopian flights stretch across the African continent to points in Western and Southern Africa.
Of the more than four dozen African cities that Ethiopian serves, it is particularly strong in its home region of East Africa.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Even before it reached Brazil in July, the global network of Ethiopian Airlines spread long-haul routes from Addis Ababa to three other continents, including three cities on Mainland China (Beijing, Hangzhou and Guangzhou), plus Hong Kong; a new route to Kuala Lumpur via Bangkok, two cities in India (Delhi and Mumbai), and two cities in Italy (Rome and Milan), plus five other European cities: London, Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt, and Stockholm. The route to Rome continues on to Washington Dulles, and there is a new non-stop to Toronto on a 787 Dreamliner.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Ethiopian's neck-and-neck race against Kenya Airways to cover all of Africa has spread to a second airport in Zambia: the northern town of Ndola, gateway to Zambia's famed copperbelt region. Ethiopian serves the town non-stop from Addis Ababa's Bole Airport three times per week.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Ethiopian Airlines has been in fierce competition with its east African rival, Kenya Airways, to connect the continent through its hub at Addis Ababa's Bole Airport. Earlier this year, it launched flights to Blantyre, Malawi's commercial capital and second largest city, which is served by only handful of airlines. Malawian aviation has suffered greatly this year due to the indefinite suspension of Air Malawi.
Friday, November 1, 2013
While no Brazilian carrier currently serves West Africa, as of July of this year the South American cone and the Western coast of Africa are connected via one of the world's more unusual routes. Ethiopian Airlines connected a fifth continent to its 55-year old network when a brand-new B787 Dreamliner took flight from tiny Lomé, Togo to Rio de Janeiro, with a continuing service to Sao Paulo, Brazil. Lome is also the home base for Ethiopian-affiliated super-regional ASKY Airlines. The Dreamliner apparently also serves the transcontinental Lomé-Addis Ababa section; ET506/507 spans half the globe thrice-weekly.
Friday, October 25, 2013
Brazil dominates commercial aviation in South America today, but four decades ago Rio de Janeiro was the primary gateway to the continent's southern cone, with Sao Paulo just another way station on the routes to Asuncion and Santiago, without, apparently so much as a link to Montevideo and Buenos Aires, at least not on VARIG. Manaus is a more important gateway, with connections to Bogota and Mexico City via Panama, as well as an Andean-hopper terminating at Iquitos, Peru. Recife and Salvador, and Belem all have flights into Europe, with the latter also linked to Cayenne and Paramaraibo, as well as Miami.
See the previous post for the global view of the VARIG route map of 1973.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
The International route network of VARIG Brazilian Airlines in 1973 is a fascinating glimpse into a bygone world of flag carriers. Far more European cities are linked directly or indirectly with Brazil by its main airline than today, an indecipherable tangle of routes connects even tertiary airports such as Geneva and Copenhagen. The network funnels together at Rio de Janeiro, with Sao Paulo a tiny dot in Rio's shadow; today Sao Paulo is by far the dominant gateway into South America. Also note the southern Atlantic routes, particularly to Lagos and Cape Town. Ironic that four decades later this rising economic giant does boast a global carrier with an equal reach on continental Europe or Africa.
See the following post for a detail on the South American section of VARIG's network.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
An original design by Airlineroutemaps.com shows the network of Cape Verdean flag carrier, TACV. Few airlines could boast such an impressive size-to-reach ratio, with the tiny company connecting four continents on both sides of the Atlantic. From Praia, the national capital, flights hop to nearby Dakar and Bissau on the mainland; the largest regional hub and the nearby Lusophone capital.
The motherland is well served also, with three flights to the Iberian peninsula in total: to the two busiest Portuguese airports, Lisbon and Porto, as well as Madrid. Paris, Amsterdam, and Milan are all served from Sal, with Munich connected via a stop in Las Palmas.
In the New World, the giant Portuguese-speaking Brazil is linked from the closest large city, Fortaleza, while larger, closer airports in North America are bypassed in favor of Boston, hub of America's largest Portuguese-speaking immigrant communities; New England boasts the largest Cape Verdean population outside of the islands themselves. TACV uses a B757 on the route.
Friday, October 11, 2013
The last departures before midnight on a Sunday evening at Munich's airport in August of this year reveals many of Bavaria's more exotic visitors: South African Airways to Johannesburg, and Turkish to Izmir, and Emirates to Dubai, with long-haul services by Lufthansa from its second-biggest hub to Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Of shorter duration is an Easyjet hop to London Gatwick. Before midnight there are two flights to Moscow, one on S7 to Domodedovo and one on Aeroflot to Sheremetyevo. There is an El Al flight to Tel Aviv. There are also charter services to Palma de Mallorca and Antalya.
Monday, October 7, 2013
The television arrivals screen at Dresden airport in Germany on a Friday in August of 2013, showing many internal flights on Lufthansa from Munich and Frankfurt, and on Air Berlin from Düsseldorf. Easyjet has a single service on the board from Basel. Air Berlin also flies in from Antalya, Turkey, and Germanwings arrives from Cologne with an earlier service in from Corfu which is not the sole Greek Isle connection on the board as there is a later charter arrival on Pegasus from Kos.
Saturday, October 5, 2013
In addition to its impressive array of African destinations, Turkish Airlines, now the world's seventh largest carrier, is heavily focussed on services to Germany, principally given the large number of Turkish immigrants, so it offers flights to a dozen German cities, in many cases offering some of the few services outside of the European Union from smaller airports such as Bremen, and tiny Friedrichshafen on the Bodensee. Most flights are to Istanbul Ataturk. Larger urban centers, including Düsseldorf, Munich, Berlin and Frankfurt host multiple, daily operations to a half dozen Turkish cities, including leisure destinations like Antalya as well as secondary urban centers such as Adana and Trabzon.
Friday, October 4, 2013
It's surprisingly anachronistic to find a printed timetable in 2013, complete with glossy dust-jacket and newspaper-thin black-and-white sheets inside. Yet Turkish Airlines still apparently publishes such a volume, which displays the breadth of what is suddenly the world's sixth largest airline.
To illustrate the density of this nascent megacarrier, the timetable shows several maps of the airline's vast, pentacontinental network. Here is the astonishing variety of the airline's destinations in Africa, where it has eclipsed its many European rivals in terms of number of cities served, and is well ahead of even the Gulf super-carriers in its sub-Saharan system, as it has landed in airports as uncommon as Nouakchott and Niamey, Kilimanjaro and Kinshasa, Mombasa and Mogadishu. The arrival of a Turkish B737-800 in the Somali capital last year made global headlines, and more recently a Turkish firm won the contract to administer the airport. Note the Turkish spelling as Djibouti as Cibuti.
Further expansion is underway, another Turkish B737-800 will land at N'Djamena via Kano before year's end.
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Following from the previous post, this promotional brochure shows the ease of connecting to the southern cone of Africa from South African Airways's gateways in Europe: Munich, Frankfurt, and London Heathrow, via Johannesburg. With the map superimposed, these long-haul legs seem mercifully short. Cities in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique and Malawi are shown, as well as the airline's many domestic destinations. In most cases, especially outside of South Africa, the proposition is to fly from Europe to OR Tambo, passing over a final destination, before tracking back to reach it on a local connection.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Troubled, loss-making state carrier South African Airways, whose past has been covered extensively on Timetablist, continues to dominate its home continent as one of the largest African carriers. As shown in this flyer circulated at Munich airport earlier this year, the airline still has success connecting passengers via its antipodean hub at Johannesburg OR Tambo, which remains Africa's busiest airport.
Beyond the southernmost cone, detailed in the next post, SAA serves sixteen cities in Western, Central and Eastern Africa, from Dakar to Dar Es Salaam, including smaller airports such as Brazzaville, Bujumbura, Cotonou and Pointe-Noire. However, the airline by-passes the Sahel and Sahara on its way to its new remaining European gateways.
Saturday, September 14, 2013
The route of KLM Flight #KL566 from Nairobi to Amsterdam, a B747-400 which flew right through the notch of Sudan and Libya, as shown on the in-flight video screen, arriving the next morning in Europe. The graphics recall a similar trans-Saharan night flight from Accra from six months earlier.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
The second screen of the international departures board for NBO on the night of 30 April shows activity through the night at this 24-hour airport; no restrictions on small-hour activity, perhaps because there is so little.
In the 35 minutes before midnight, Kenya Airways has two long-hauls: to Guangzhou via Bangkok, and London-Heathrow. There is a shorter flight to Bujumbura and Kigali.
SWISS leaves for Zürich, one of the last African services for the airline which formerly served a dozen sub-Saharan cities. After an almost two-and-a-half hour pause, Brussels Airlines leaves for Brussels via Kigali. Turkish Airlines takes a dead-zone departure time to fly to Istanbul, a curious time slot, and just before sunrise, Ethiopian operates the first of several daily flights to Addis Ababa.
By daylight, activity picks up. KQ leaves for Johannesburg, and follows in the next hour with departures to Dar Es Salaam, Juba, Yaounde, and a link to Lilongwe and Lusaka. Air Uganda's first flight to Entebbe leaves at the same time. African Express leaves for Berbera and Mogadishu at 7am.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
The departure board at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 9PM in the 30th of April of this year, showing a squadron of flights across Africa, as well as long-hauls to Europe and Asia.
Of the 13 flights shown, 8 are within Africa, and 5 of those are on Kenya Airways: to Gaborone, Botswana, Johannesburg, and a flight to both Lusaka and Harare, all in Southern Africa. Kenya always flies to nearby Entebbe, one of three airlines offering flights to Uganda's main airport late in the evening, the other being African Express and Air Uganda. there is also a KQ service to Dar Es Salaam at 10:30, an hour after Precision Air's service to the Tanzanian capital.
Outside of Africa, Kenya Airways has evening flights to Mumbai and Dubai, the latter with onward service to Hong Kong, while Emirates has a non-stop to Dubai ten minutes later. This is followed by the 11:15 flight to London Heathrow on British Airways. The KLM flight to Amsterdam, leaving at 22:25, is the only other European flight.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
British Airways, a conservative carrier steeped in tradition, rarely makes changes, particularly to its unique route map illustration, which looks quite similar to this version from the beginning of the decade.
The only changes are the loss of direct BA services to Harare, and the absence of the Dakar-Freetown route. The former is still on the map, but only as part of the South African-centered Comair network.
Since this printing, Dar Es Salaam dropped from the schedule just this past March, and only last week BA announced the end of its historic service to Lusaka-- two legacy routes to former colonies that can no longer be commercially justified.
Saturday, September 7, 2013
An attractive item from nearly 19 years ago, as KLM was just introducing the MD-11 to its fleet. KLM had served Nigeria for many years, initially with a stop in Kano as part of its earliest trans-African route to Johannesburg, and had served Lagos for several decades. The main event is the upgrading of the route to the shiny new tri-jet, which is both sharply illustrated on the envelope and accurately depicted on the cancellation stamp. Today, although KLM's MD-11 has still been seen in West Africa, an A330 generally does the job.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
The most obvious difference in juxtaposing the route map of Nigeria Airways in 1981 with Arik Air in 2012 is the centralization around hubs that has taken place in those decades. Here, the state carrier offered a diversity of linkages between major cities, with an array of flights connecting Kano, Jos, Enugu, Benin City and Kaduna. Even Yola and Markurdi have multiple options (although as with all route networks, the frequency of such flights is not clear).
Aside from the intricacy of this web, the complete absence of Abuja is obvious. Today, this myriad span of domestic flights has been rationalized around a two-hub system split between Lagos and Abuja. Although airlines worldwide have consolidated into hub-and-spoke systems, it is tempting to see this transition as an allegory for the fate of the federal state and Nigerian society in these ensuing years.
As noted previously, Kano's status as a northern hub and intercontinental gateway has been erased. Note that the Ibadan-Benin City-Calabar service was suspended at the time.
See the previous post for Nigeria Airways's international network from 1981.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
In looking from Arik Air's route map from October back to Virgin Nigeria's system from 2009, we can stretch back almost thirty-two years to this representation of the Nigeria Airways network of November 1981, as seen in the old trade publication, Flight International.
There are many similarities, particularly the nearly-identical route line hugging the West African coast to Dakar with a mini-hub at Monrovia. Intercontinentally, there are familiar routes to London and New York.
What is more remarkable, however are the many differences: Long-haul flights to Amsterdam, Rome, and Jeddah, all remarkably emanating out of Kano, with an apparent non-stop to London from Port Harcourt. There is also a trans-African route from Lagos to Calabar to Douala, crossing the heart of the continent to Nairobi, and a link to Libreville from Calabar and Port Harcourt as well. Lastly, a northern flight to Niamey originates in Kano and stops in the sultanate of Sokoto before crossing the border.
Many of these routes no longer exist. Part of this is the decline of Kano as an intercontinental airport, a topic recurring in Timetablist back to its most ancient archives, but is most startling in this earlier Nigeria Airways route map of 1973, when the majority of Nigeria Airway's European routes departed from Kano. Like many deregulated systems, Nigeria's air services have consolidated, dropping secondary destinations and service from non-hub cities.
The next post will detail the domestic network.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
the previous post, the small corner detail of Arik Air's two-page route map spread shows the domestic operations of the de-facto flag carrier. Here, the airline's signature red and blue colors are used to differentiate operations out of Lagos Murtala Muhammed from flights fanning out of Abuja's Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, which actually has connections to more cities than the much larger commercial capital, acting as a hub in the middle of the country.
Monday, September 2, 2013
Here, the world of Arik spreads across two pages of Arik's inflight magazine from last October, two three continents.
Compare to an earlier era of three years ago, and Arik's erstwhile rival, Virgin Nigeria, boasted a similar map. Yet Arik actually flies to New York's JFK airport, a destination Virgin Nigeria was never able to reach. In fact, Arik flies daily to three of the four prestige overseas destinations: New York, London-Heathrow (from both Lagos and Abuja), and Johannesburg (Dubai being the fourth, yet to be added). Luanda is also linked.
Arik has a denser West African network, naturally, as is one of the key carriers of the region. Besides the popular Lagos-Accra-Monrovia run and another to Freetown and Banjul, the airline has a francophone route from Cotonou to Ouagadougou to Bamako to Dakar.
The inset shows the domestic network, detailed in the following post.
Sunday, September 1, 2013
After the demise of Ghana Airways, furtive attempts were made to keep a Black Star flag carrier in the skies. From 2005-2010, Ghana International Airlines was an attempt to fill that role, with a single B757 flying weekly between Accra and London Gatwick, with a stop in Düsseldorf, Germany, which has a particularly sizable population of Ghanaians. Apparently there was also a service to Johannesburg, at least according to Wikipedia. This advert was from c.2009, the airline's last full year of operations.
Saturday, August 31, 2013
Starting mid-September, fast-growing regional airline ASKY will begin serving tiny Bissau from its increasingly-busy hub in Lomé, Togo. While the airline's own website gives no details or schedules, and isn't not even equipped to sell tickets on the routes, the helpful website Routes online reports that the twice-weekly service will be a biweekly extension of the existing Lome-Accra-Monrovia Spriggs Payne route.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Fada N'Gourma, Gorom Gorom, Diapaga, Bogandé, Pama, Sebba, Dori. Not the sort of names that autofill on Kayak.com everyday. But this was the network of the dancing Chi-Wara, shown in this vintage Air Volta horaire. The more unfamiliar names occur on the Lignes Interieures at right, where the center of the card shows the schedule of the mainline Ouagadougou-Bobo Dioulasso-Bouake- Bamako-Lomé-Cotonou service.
Haute Volta is today Burkina Faso, of course, and Air Volta today has been succeeded by Grupo Celestair's Air Burkina.
Haute Volta is today Burkina Faso, of course, and Air Volta today has been succeeded by Grupo Celestair's Air Burkina.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
A visual from Virgin Atlantic's mobile app, showing the airline's African destinations as of this summer: Accra, Lagos, Cape Town, and Johannesburg, with the interactive showing single jet launching north from Murtala Mohammed to London Heathrow.
Virgin Atlantic's other destinations on the continent, Nairobi, Port Harcourt and Abuja have not lasted, although the airline's website still offers a destination guides to the latter two. Nor, somewhat surprisingly, has Accra, which, perhaps due to high fuel costs of operating a quad-engined A340 on the route, will end on 23 September of this year. Mauritius also did not last, although it and Nairobi are still bizarrely listed on its website. And, it should be noted, Cape Town is only seasonal.
Monday, August 26, 2013
Air Mali has, in recent years, made a strong effort to be relevant in the fast-growing but still tiny West African aviation market. Prominent billboards, such as this one on the Kanda Highway near Kotoka Airport in Accra, were part of its strategy to get noticed and get customers.
The network stretches from Pointe-Noire to Nouakchott, and concentrates heavily on the Francophone capitals. However, there are a few Anglophone cities served, as especially highlighted on this advert with Accra shown more prominently than even Bamako. Lagos is also linked, although central African serves to Libreville and Brazzaville appear to transit via Cotonou or Lomé. The Freetown-Monrovia service was short-lived, and since this billboard was erected in Ghana, the country has been torn apart by civil conflict, from which it is just now starting to recover. It's not clear from the airline's website how accurate this c.2011 route map is today.