Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Delta Air Lines: Dubai to Atlanta, January 2016


A poster-stand placed outside an upscale travel agency in Dubai, advertising Delta's non-stop service to Atlanta, promising connections across the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America and beyond. At the time of the photo had barely a month to go. The flight was scrapped in a high-profile complaint by Delta that Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways have unfair advantage in the market. Although hardly the only market that Delta has retreated from (see Abuja, Monrovia, Cairo, Kiev, Amman, Bucharest, Budapest, Helsinki, Warsaw, Vienna, Cape Town, Delhi, ChennaiIstanbulamong others), Delta also stated in its press release announcing its withdrawal from Mumbai that the failure of the route was also due to the massive capacity that the Gulf 3 have added. It surely stung that Qatar launched a new service from Doha to Atlanta just months later—starting the service with an A380.

United Air Lines also pulled out of Dubai in January, and has also withdrawn the remainder of its Gulf operations, citing the same uncompetitive conditions, although here is an interesting blogpost regarding United's withdrawal from Kuwait, suggesting a different sort of government involvement.





Monday, August 15, 2016

Dubai: Departures from Terminal 1, January 2015 (cont.)


Continuing from the previous post, the second of two screens-shots gets us from the late noon hour until mid-afternoon. The schedule continues to be dominated by regional and subcontinental flights, with the addition of MEA to Beirut and Royal Jordanian to Amman. PIA has three more operations in the afternoon, and Mahan Air has a second flight to Tehran

More exotic flights are sprinkled throughout the time block. Surely the most remarkable is SyrianAir to Latakia, as it is almost unbelievable that the state carrier continues to field its single A320 across the region as much of the country burns. Elsewhere, we find Azerbaijan Airlines to Baku, and TAROM to Bucharest, here referred to only at "Otopeni Intl." The last of the board shows two flight to Moscow: the first on Transaero to "Vnukovo," in what would be the last few months of that enterprise's existence, and a second that at the moment shows a Kenya Airways flight number but is, of course, an Aeroflot operation to Sheremetyevo, which is not specified as the destination airport.

Dubai: Departures from Terminal 1, January 2015


One of two posts today showing the Departures Boards at Dubai International from back in late January 2015. Dubai's remarkable development as a global city is inextricable to the incredible growth of its airport. While the unprecedented burgeoning of hometown Emirates airline has been foundational in this expansion, and in 2014 Dubai overtook London Heathrow to become the most important airport in the world by international passengers. However this is not solely due to Emirates, but also to a myriad of intercontinental and regional air carriers, from its global rivals to exotic and rare birds from Dubai's vast aviation hinterland of South and Central Asia and Africa. 

Here, in a window of less than three hours of activity at Terminal 1, Dubai International demonstrates its role as a global hub. Arch-rivals Virgin and British Airways both depart for Heathrow at the exact same time. Regional kin such as Saudia, Gulf Air, Oman Air and Qatar Airways are off to their hubs. Two Iranian carriers depart for Persian cities: State carrier Iranair to coastal Bandar Abbas, and an A340 sports the green swan of Mahan Air on its way to the capital. At 11:25, Air Astana leaves for Almaty. Further east, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and IndiGo are off to seven Indian cities, and PIA departs for Peshawar at 11:40. 

The African offerings are perhaps even more interesting: TAAG to Luanda, Arik to Abuja, Tunisair to Tunis. Or more specifically, they were more interesting: remarkably, all three operations were scrapped in later 2015, in the face of relentless competition from Emirates and economic struggles across that continent.  

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Kuwait International Airport: Arrivals Board, 14 August 2015 (cont).


Continuing from the previous post, the arrivals board at Kuwait Airport, showing the finally-arrived British Airways flight, shown at the moment as an Iberia codeshare. Hometown Kuwait Airways has more flights in than out, with arrivals from Islamabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Cochin, Colombo, Dhaka, and Istanbul. Rival Jazeera Airways arrives from two central Egyptian cities: Sohag and Luxor. Emirates shows up again, as it always does. Oman Air comes in from Muscat; Qatar Airways from Doha.

Just as with the Departures screen, an obscure Iranian air carrier makes for fun planespotting at KIA: The blue swanned-tail of Iran Aseman Airlines arrives from tiny Lamerd in coast Fars Province at 7:40. A status is not given. 

Kuwait International Airport Departures Board: 14 August 2015


Screen-shot of the departure monitor at Kuwait Airport, 12 months ago. The issue at hand was the massively-delayed British Airways flight from London, shown here as an Iberia codeshare. Kuwait Airways offers the other European flights on the board, its own service to London, as well as Frankfurt. Kuwait also features regional flights out to Amman, Cairo and Jeddah, the latter matched by low-cost rival Jazeera AirwaysEmirates is on the board, as it always is everywhere, to where else; this service at times is run with an Airbus A380. Gulf Air runs to Bahrain, but probably on an A320. Air Cairo is an interesting one, with a flight to Alexandria, with its hard-to-read, charmingly-outdated double-pyramid logo. But perhaps the most curious is logo-less flight with code ZV, for Zagros Airlines, running to Shiraz in central Iran—the first time either has been featured on The Timetablist.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Air Afrique: Direct from New York to Abidjan, 1982


It's been two years since the Timetablist has dedicated a period of March as Air Afrique week, and in that time the archives have accumulated a sufficient catalogue to take up multiple consecutive days.
If given five more years of searching it could hardly be expected to rediscover such an emerald gem as this: a vintage print ad from a long-musted magazine; just barely emerging from the monochrome gloss of the class travel-advert era. Air Afrique, the flagship of L'Afrique Ouest, boasts a once-weekly trijet transatlantic service between North America and Sub-Sahara. This gleaming DC-10 would be one of the few that made such a run by this time, as Pan American had already started to retreat from Africa's tropical stretches. 

It remains unusual for an airline advert to field a full operating schedule; such mechanical particulars seem to perhaps detract from the less specific, more evocative dreams of an exotic voyage. Yet here, helpfully for our own contemporary and particular interest, is the full timetable of the overnight JFK-Dakar service, which continues on to Abidjan's Port Bouet. The return flight is in fact the outbound voyage, as the DC-10 makes the reverse route the night before. 

Interestingly, the asterisk mentions that the current routing, via Monrovia Robertsfield, will end on 1 January 1983, assisting in dating the item. Also note that the schedule boasts a starting point of the "Air France/Air Afrique" terminal: as if the single day-long layover of this antelope-masked tail per week warranted spending the name of the Air France outpost in New York

Monday, February 29, 2016

El Al: Boston to Tel Aviv Non-stop, June 2015


In just the last four years, starting in about 2012, Boston's Logan International Airport has seen one of the most astonishing periods of international traffic growth in the history of American aviation. In a startlingly compacts period of time, beginning with JAL's dreamliner service to Narita in April 2012, Logan's somewhat pedestrian terminal E has seen an astonishing addition of new tail fins—especially those running long- and ultra-long haul intercontinental flights from New England: Hainan, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, COPA, Aeromexico, Turkish, and WOW Air. These are now being joined by Norwegian, Qatar Airways, Eurowings, Air Berlin, SASThomson Airways and TAP Air Portugal, in addition to new services by Jetblue, Logan's de facto hub airline. 

Last year, in mid-2015, El Al was a somewhat unlikely participant in this onrush. The Israeli flag carrier launched a thrice-weekly B767-300 non-stop to the Holy Land gateway, Ben Gurion International Airport. This print ad, boasting a beachy scene of Tel Aviv's skyscraper-studded riviera, featured in Boston magazine ahead of the first flight. Likely paid for by Massport as part of the incitement package offered to El Al to secure and support the service. Whatever the state agency has been doing, it's been doing it right. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Air China: Triple-Daily Beijing-Los Angeles, May 2015


Continuing from the previous post, with the subject of the expansion of Chinese airlines into intercontinental markets, here is yet another print advert evincing the phenomenon. Despite LAX's ascendancy to all-time highs in passenger numbers, making it, for the first time ever, the busiest airport in the United States by some measures, there are still only a handful of intercontinental airports that are served three times per day by a single carrier from Southern California. 


Air China is reportedly the only airline flying Beijing-LAX non-stop, and the only Chinese carrier with more than one flight per day between the U.S. and the People's Republic. 


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sichuan Airlines: Thrice-Weekly Chengdu-Melbourne, February 2013


As has been noted previously on The Timetablist, regional Chinese airlines have in the past several years cast a wider and wider net beyond the borders of China, and even beyond the shores of Asia. 

One of the most ambitious of late has been medium-sized Sichuan Airlines, whose growth has been underpinned by the growing importance of its homebase, Chengdu, which is today one of interior China's cosmopolitan gateways. 

Sichuan first made headlines with its bold announcement to fly to distant Vancouver from Chengdu, via coastal Shenyang, a service which started in June 2012. Less than a year later, the airline launched long-haul service to a third continent, Australia, with thrice-weekly flights to Melbourne. By the end of 2013, the airline had also launched a separate twice-weekly Chongqing-Sydney service.

The above advertisement boasts of this offering, with a fold-out business class shell holding its own to international standards. Fold-out luxury and privacy is also indicated by the wooden screen at the left of the ad, and if that wasn't enough Oriental flourish, a bough of bamboo is tucked in behind the inviting premium seat. 

The ad has a bit of the old school, if anything, with the service schedule tabled at the bottom (in fact this sort of information is quite helpful and normally these key details are not at all accessible in a print ad of this sort). 

Sichuan most recently made more big headlines earlier this quarter with commencement of service to Dubai, on a twice weekly Chengdu-Yinchuan-DXB routing. Although Emirates has yet to penetrate inner China, Etihad has flown Abu Dhabi-Chengdu daily since way back in 2011, joining other global carriers such as British Airways, KLM, Qatar Airways and United that have touched down in Szechuan from other continents. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Singapore Airlines Network, 1976


This high disco-era Singapore Airlines route map boldly fits the styles of the times, laid out on a blinding dance floor of jolting ribbons, the jagged bands of red and blue interrupted by thunderbolts of strobe.

Aside from this eye-watering background, the route map cartography itself is rather bland: the jet black masses of four continents are connected with an all-white network. While many lines fan out from Singapore itself, Bahrain is particularly important scissors hub, the airline's sole Gulf destination acting as the only way station to six European hubs: London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Zürich, Athens, and Rome. Oriented eastward, Bahrain hosted Singapore flights from Bombay, Bangkok, and Colombo.

In East Asia itself, it is surprising to note how local the schedules ran: just to get up to Seoul or Tokyo required at least two stops in Hong Kong and Taipei. Already, the airline was well-oriented toward the Kangaroo Routes, with a criss-cross of long flights to Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney—although at the very least this map shows that a London-Sydney itinerary would have to pass through two other airports, at minimum, which doesn't seem so fly.

This item is reposted from Flickr user caribb (Doug from Montreal)'s photo stream. A special thank you to Doug as always for allowing creative commons licensing of his fantastic collection. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Singapore Airlines: The Asian connections, 2013


From a global business traveler magazine back cover, Singapore Airlines, Silk Air and Changi Airport partner to boast of the easy connections from Manila to Male, Denspasar to Delhi. While the routes fan upwards toward mainland and offshore China, they do not attempt to show Korea or Japan, but instead link a dozen cities each in India, Indonesia and Southeast Asia, many of which are in fact served by the little sister carrier, SilkAir.

Most notably dating the advert is the list of long-haul routes: San Francisco, Houston, Los Angeles and New York. While all four cities are served from Singapore, none are nonstop nowadays, as the ultra-long haul A340 flights were discontinued at the end of 2013. Today they are paired Houston-Moscow, Los Angeles-Tokyo, New York-Frankfurt, and San Francisco with both Seoul and Hong Kong.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Azerbaijan Airlines Destinations, Spring 2015


The curious case of the Azerbaijan Airlines route map, a semi-interactive presentation on the airline's slick web portal. Yellow-gold pegs portrude out from a slate-clay continent, showing destinations as expected as London, Frankfurt, Moscow, Paris, and Dubai and as interesting as PragueRiga, Tel-Aviv, Tblisi and Minsk. To the north, a number of secondary Russian cities is served, but there's only a weak network southward: the map is equally intriguing for the cities not shown. Only New York and Beijing, new long-haul additions to the network, are not encompassed in this slice of globe.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Uzbekistan Airways: The International Network, c.2003-2008



In sharp contrast to the photo-generated graphics of the domestic routes, this iteration of Uzbekistan Airway's international network is a sharp, simple white-on-blue. Found on this antique Central Asian tourism website, it dates most likely to the middle of the last decade.

The broad reach of Uzbekistan Airways features fantastic array of destinations of four continents, most especially the flagship Tashkent-Riga-New York route: this pride-of-the-network HY101 survives to this day. There are a great many Russian destinations, and service to many of the Central Asian capitals: Almaty, Astana, Bishkek, Ashgabad, and Baku. One might put the flight to Urumqi, capital of Chinese Turkestan, in this same category. Seven other European airports are included, including Athens and Istanbul. More randomly are flights to Seoul, Osaka, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Delhi is only less surprising than Lahore and Amritsar, while Jeddah, Dubai, Sharjah and Tel-Aviv round out the Middle East.

Looking at the roster from Wikipedia, a great many of these more random cities survive within the network today.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Uzbekistan Airways: The Domestic Routes, c.2008


The Domestic Routes of Uzbekistan Airways, which provides an essential transport network in such a vast, inhospitable, and oddly-shaped country, double-landlocked in the center of Asia.

Naturally, the capital serves as the hub, roughly in the middle of the country, positioned between the ancient Silk Road cities of Samarkand and Bukhara and Ferghana in the east. Tashkent's importance is shown in large, bold, capital letters, with the Uzbekistan Airways swan logo as its point. Nukus in distant Karakalpakstan is the westernmost destination, where the map over-optimistically represents the decidemated Aral Sea as a serene lake of glistening aqua.

Likewise, the map itself presents a country with less than 10% arable land as a system of lush, green valleys, held aloft in an azure blue sky, floating in the clouds.

This item found via this website.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Swissair: The African Destinations, Winter 1972


Continuing from yesterday's post, it is somewhat astonishing to consider today that at the height of its reach, Swissair served more cities in Africa than any other external continent (17 African destinations compared to 14 across Asia). Particularly dense are the West African capitals, six airports from Dakar to Douala (the only non-capital besides Johannesburg on the map). Past Cameroon, francophone Libreville and Kinshasa are also connected, whereas in East Africa, Anglophone Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam are linked via formerly-British Khartoum.

To match the astonishment of the extent of the Swissair network in the early 1970s is to note that today, the successor Swiss International Air Lines only flies to Johannesburg and Dar Es Salaam.

Special thanks again to Flickr user caribb (Doug from Montreal) for allowing his collection to be featured here. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Swissair: The Intercontinental Routes, Winter 1972


The five-continent network of d stretched from Santiago to Singapore, Montreal to Manila. Four cities in North America, four in South America, three in South Asia, and five in East Asia were connected with what here is simply denoted as "Switzerland" sitting at the center of Europe, whether Zürich or Geneva is not specified. The only other European cities marked are Athens and Istanbul. A denser array in the Near East: Ankara, Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Nicosia, Tehran, and Tel-Aviv.

A special thanks to Flickr user caribb (Doug from Montreal) for the fair-use rights.

The particularly-strong African network will be featured in the following post. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Air Berlin: The Long-haul Destinations from Munich, summer 2013


A somewhat clever transit-map styling of an Air Berlin wall advert at the Munich Airport U-bahn station, showing the diverse long-haul destinations, which by and large are leisure markets. Four continents are covered: from Phuket and Bangkok in Thailand, and Male in the Maldives, to Mombasa in Kenya and Windhoek in Namibia (the latter two, sadly, seem to have since been dropped from the network). In the Americas, Miami, New York and Los Angeles are complimented by Caribbean resort towns such as Cancún. On the red horizontal line, further sun-and-beach destinations are separated from the more urban trio of Barcelona, Moscow, and Vienna. Strangely, the device isn't carried all the way through, as there is no interchange station in the center where the two lines intersect.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Kuwait Airways: Three New Destinations, Summer 2013


Kuwait Airways is a bit of a dinosaur in the ecosystem of the Middle East's fast-moving air space, having long-since been eclipsed by the megacarrier trio of Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, and having receded from its previous extents, which once reached as far as Chicago, Tokyo, and Singapore. In the present era, the slow-moving state carrier boasts when it returns to such nearby nations as Turkey. Here, an advert from mid-2013, showing a rather cautious re-entry into southeastern Europe, with two weekly flights to Vienna and Sarajevo, and a mere 3-weekly flights to Istanbul, now the sixth-busiest airport in Europe.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

El Al: 3 times weekly to Boston, June 2015





Banner ads have started appearing for El Al's latest expansion into the United States market: thrice-weekly flights from Tel Aviv to Boston, beginning in June of this year.  El Al apparently served Logan Airport in previous decades, but it's return is part of the remarkable intercontinental expansion from Logan, which has seen the airport go from flights almost exclusively to Europe and Caribbean to non-stops to Tokyo on JAL, Beijing (and also in June Shanghai) on Hainan—these three all with the B787 Dreamliner,—as well as Emirates to Dubai, Turkish to Istanbul, and Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong, which begins in May. Copa Airlines recently started flights to Boston, and Aeromexico resumes non-stop flights to Mexico City starting in May as well.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Evening departures from Bahrain International Airport



Gulf Air continues to dominate the evening flight board out of Bahrain, with flights to Jeddah, Dubai (both DXB and DWC), Kuwait, Riyadh and Muscat. In addition, nearly all the major flag carriers of the Middle East are present: Emirates to Dubai, Etihad to Abu Dhabi, Qatar to Doha, Kuwait Airways to Kuwait, Iran Air to Mashhad, and Saudia to Riyadh, and Royal Jordanian to Amman. Low-cost Air Arabia flies to Sharjah. at 6:40, as does Air India Express to Kochi—the only flight outside the Gulf. 

Afternoon departures from Bahrain International, January 2015



The typical weekend afternoon schedule out of Bahrain's only commercial airport is dominated by flights operated by the state carrier, Gulf Air, and flights to the Middle East. Bahrain's flag carrier departs for Karachi, Delhi, Muscat, Riyadh, Dubai (twice), Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, and Dammam. Mahan Air flies to Mashhad, Saudia to Jeddah, and Egyptair to Cairo. Emirati low-cost carriers flydubai and Rotana jet fly to their respective hubs as well.

The only flight on the top of the board that doesn't fall into either or both categories is Cathay Pacific's non-stop to Hong Kong.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Saudia: The Domestic Network, c.1979



Unclear who was the intended audience of this 1979 print advert for Saudia. Were there really that many potential customers who needed to reach innermost Arabia but seek an alternative to the Saudi state carrier? The airline's golden key promised to unlock such likely remote arid outposts as Abha, Badana, Bisha, Gassim, Gurayet, Hail, Jouf, Najran, Qausimah, Rafha, Sharourah, Turaif and Wedjh (all premiering on Timetablist with this post). No town in Saudi Arabia is more than 70 miles from a modern jet airport, the airline boasts.

Handsome cartography all the same, with the watercolor effect of receding waves (notice the absence of Africa at left) and indicating the mountainous regions of Hejaz, Yemen and Iran.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Saudia: The only non-stop flight between Los Angeles and Saudi Arabia, 2014


Continuing to look at advertisements for new long-haul service out of California, this glossy magazine page celebrates the launch of thrice-weekly Los Angeles-Jeddah-Riyadh service on a brand-new Saudia B777-368ER. Interestingly, Saudia arrived at LAX before its fast-growing Gulf rivals Qatar Airways, and Etihad; since the March launch Etihad has commenced A340 flights to Abu Dhabi, and   Emirates operates the world's longest A380 route to L.A., but still Qatar Airways has yet to land in Hollywood.

Friday, January 2, 2015

JAL: San Francisco-Tokyo Haneda on the Dreamliner: The quickest way to Metropolitan Tokyo, 2014


JAL may have the fastest service on board brand-new planes, opening up frontiers in intercontinental flights from the here-to-fore mostly domestic airport at Haneda to California aboard a brand-new B787 Dreamliner, but it certainly has chosen a World Wide Web 1.0 fashion to publicize its pioneering: this banner advert looks like it was made in about 1998.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

United: One-Airline Service from the Pacific Northwest to Tokyo and Hong Kong, c.1985



Back in the mid-1980s, when East Asia was still referred to as "the Orient" and frequent flier programs were still new, it was apparently quite remarkable to be able to fly from a "top 100 U.S. business center" to the exotic Far East—not non-stop or one-stop, but one-airline. Nowadays, of course, airline alliances mean that what color the plane is painted in hardly matters any more, but in those days, printing boarding passes and baggage handling still were worth bragging about it print. Not entirely clear whether Portland, Oregon had trans-Pacific service as well, but clearly Seattle was acting as a gateway. United flew SeaTac-Tokyo until only last year; but today Delta is the main U.S. carrier with intercontinental services.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sabena: First flight from Conakry to Brussels


Although similar first-day covers announcing mid-century Sabena services to West Africa have been featured from the earliest days of Timetablist, this particular item hasn't been posted before: Sabena's 1959 service from Conakry to Brussels, with a special envelope featuring the famous Hôtel de Ville next to a West African mask, with the Boeing Jet Intercontinental. An alarming Guinean serpent stamp occupies the upper right.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sabena: First Flight Brussels-Elizabethville, May 1953


An historic gem showing the Brussels-Rome-Athens-Cairo-Entebbe-Stanleyville-Elizabethville route's launch in May 1953, which was noted on Sabena's route map earlier this week without the Ugandan stop. The envelope, stamped at Ciampino Airport in Italy, was only posted as far as Lake Victoria's shores, in British East Africa.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Korongo Weekly Flight Schedule, 2013


Switching back to Korongo, whose weekly timetable from last year shows just how small the fledgling airline's operations truly are: only one, at most two, flights per day, with the most frequent operation being a near-daily Lubumbashi-Kinshasa service, which stops in Mbuji-Mayi on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays. Service to Johannesburg is also thrice weekly.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Congo par Sabena, 1954


A domestic route map of sixty years ago looks much more impressive than the meagre network of Korongo today. Sabena offered services to no less than thirty airports in the vast Belgian colony, with what looks to be busy stations not only at the capital Leopoldville, and the principal regional administrative outposts at Elizabethville and Stanleyville, but throughout the interior of the enormous territory.

There were more than half a dozen routes via various way stations to the metropole in Brussels, including Tripoli, Casablanca, and Rome; all the routes from the capital connected at Kano, which must have been quite an operation in its own right.

In addition, regional African routes spanned the territorial border in all directions: from Leopoldville to Portuguese Luanda and Johannesburg, which also had a link to Elizabethville; from Albertville to Dar Es Salaam, from Libenge to Bangui, in French Equatorial Africa. Not especially the route to Entebbe and Nairobi, especially how Kigali lies within the realm of Belgian Central Africa at this time.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Korongo Promotion: Lubumbashi to Kinshasa and return, 2014


While the Democratic Republic of Congo may have among the lowest internet penetration rates in the world, Korongo Airlines nonetheless proceeds with a web marketing campaign as most of its customers are international mining executives, even in the case of its mainline domestic route between two of DRC's most important cities: the national capital, Kinshasa, and the capital of Katanga province, Lubumbashi. A deal priced in US Dollars.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Korongo Airlines Route Map, 2013-14


Still today, Belgian's primary commercial airline is greatly involved in the aviation market of the Congo. Here is a recent route map of Korongo Airlines, the Congolese subsidiary of Brussels Airlines, which has been featured previously here. 

The airline has slowly been expanding from southeastern Katanga province to the capital Kinshasa, where the dotted line SN flights reach Brussels almost daily. A connection to Johannesburg from Lubumbashi is especially convenient for mining executives; more recent routes now link Mbuji-Mayi and the secondary Katangan city of Kolwezione of the most active center for Cobalt mining in the world.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sabena Network: c.1955


Post-war, pre-jet age Sabena still had an impressive reach, with a dense network in Europe spinning out from the low countries northward to Oslo and Stockholm and east to Prague and Vienna. A single westward push stopped at Shannon before destinations unspecified in North America.

Southward, planes reached the Mediterranean at Nice, and stretched further down to Lisbon where a vague connection to South America is suggested. More articulated is the operation at Rome, with planes splitting off for North Africa,  the first crossing the Sahara to stop at Kano before finally reaching the vast Belgian Congo at Leopoldville. A non-stop from Brussels reached into the upper reaches of the Congo to terminate at Elisabethville and Stanleyville, and a single lined continued all the way down to Johannesburg.

In the east, flights criss-crossed at Athens, only reaching Tel Aviv in the Near East, with another flight to Cairo, which turned down to also reach the eastern cities of the colony.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sabena: The African Network, 1973


Continuing from the previous post, but focussing on Africa: Belgium has a particular, and outsized, colonial history in Africa, the 20th century era of which is intimately intertwined with the corporate history of Sabena. Here, near the height of the Belgian Airlines extent, the flag carrier flew to fifteen cities south of the Sahara. 

In west Africa, flights from Zaventem National Airport reached Dakar, Conakry, Abidjan, Niamey, Kano and Douala, with interlinking onward service to Monrovia and Lagos. Further into Central Africa lay Kinshasa, surely Sabena's most important African destination, linked from Niamey, Douala in Africa and Brussels and Athens in Europe. It is notable that no other Congolese city was served. 

Athens served as a supra-Mediterranean station for flights to East Africa: Nairobi and Entebbe connected non-stop from Greece, as did an ultra-long haul to Johannesburg. All three were also served non-stop from the home base. Interestingly, Uganda's main airport was also directly connected to Vienna. Kigali and Bujumbura, the capitals of Belgium's other central African former colonies, were only served from Nairobi, with Dar Es Salaam also linked in. 

Special thanks again to Flickr user caribb (Doug from Montreal) for allowing reuse under creative commons licensing. 

Sabena: Belgian World Airlines, 1973


Continuing with the vintage global route maps of European airlines from Flickr user Caribb's incredible collection, this (unfortunately somewhat blurry) photo shows Sabena's system in its “Belgian World Airlines” prime (compare to “Italy's World Airline” in the previous posts).

Five continents are linked, which is more than today's Brussels Airlines can boast, as that airline has only recently reached New York and Washington, but as with today's successor, the flag carrier of Belgium was mostly concerned with flights within Europe and Africa. As with this week's Alitalia posts, the latter African flights will be examined in detail in a subsequent post.

For now, this pink-and-grey sub polar projection shows just a few routes to Asia and the Americas, interspersed with far too much detail of "other airlines" connecting services, which overall makes Sabena's network look much more comprehensive and makes the map much too complicated to read easily.

In North America, only New York and Montreal are served, with the latter flight continuing on to Mexico City and terminating, quite unusually, at Guatemala City. Late-terminal Sabena would serve a number of U.S. cities from Boston to Miami in the 1990s before its ignominious 2001 demise.

Further into Latin America, the South American cone is connected on a Brussels-Dakar-Buenos Aires-Santiago service, which, while definitely not the only Dakar-South America operation in aviation history, may be one of the few situations in situation that West Africa had a scheduled link with Argentina, as most such flights link to Brazil.

Looking east, Sabena maintained sizable bases in both Vienna and Athens, with flights from both cities non-stop to East and Southern Africa as well as the Near East, such as Nicosia. Moving across the Asian landmass, flights first stopped in Tehran, then Bombay, Bangkok and Singapore were all interconnected, before the network curved up through Manila to reach Tokyo, from whence Sabena curved back over the pole to return to Brussels via Anchorage, Alaska.

The extensive African network will be detailed in the following post.

Special thanks, as always, to Flickr user Caribb (Doug from Montreal) for the generous creative commons licensing which permits reposting of his collection.