Wednesday, September 25, 2019
All's rather quiet at the main international airport in Albania, Mother Teresa in Tirana, the capital. The mid-afternoon bank of flights is a mix of scheduled flag carriers such as Austrian from Vienna, Air Serbia from Belgrade, and ČSA Czech from Prague, and a smattering of charters from Prague, Venice and Bratislava.
Monday, September 23, 2019
An undated route map, found in a dusty display on the upper level of the Aeronautical Museum of Yugoslavia on the grounds of Aerodrom Nikola Tesla in Belgrade, Serbia. A conventional map of Europa is overlaid with the red lines of the complete Aviogenex system during the Yugoslavian airline's prime. Although a subsidiary of the Belgrade-based Generalexport conglomerate (as the map prominently notes at the bottom), the leisure airline's impressive array of coverage emanated out of the Croatian coast, with the largest bases at Pula in Istria, and Split and Dubrovnik in Dalmatia, marked by large red bullseyes around their place names. Other large stations at Zadar and inland at Zagreb and Ljubljana and what looks to be Titograd (today Podgorica, Montenegro).
From here, the red-striped Aviogenex jets plunged further south across the Mediterranean from Algiers to Benghazi to Beirut. A single branch outward from Zagreb splays outward and off the map (to what is probably Aqaba, Jordan) and turns northeastward to spread to Leningrad, Helsinki, and Oslo.
Aviogenex was even more impressive in northwestern Europe, with intense coverage of Germany, France and especially the British Isles; the home hubs had to been repeated at the mouth of the English Channel underneath Ireland to adequately show the web of connections to 16 cities, including not just Birmingham and Leeds (as with the rest of the map rendered in Croatian Latin script, here spelled "Lidz") but many smaller airports such as Cardiff, Bristol, Bournemouth and Norwich, and what appears to be Kirkwall Airport in the Orkney Islands, which even today in the great Thomas Cook package tour era of cheap charters is not connected to the Canaries or Balearics, much less Montenegro.
This is reflective of the enormous popularity of Yugoslavia as a British tourism destination in the 1980s, when it was even more popular than Spain and Yugotours was one of the UK's most popular tour agencies, which all declined with the 1990s break-up and war. While Aviogenex was not a victim of this catastrophe, it was shadow of its former self and limped along until 2015, meeting its demise just before the latest explosion in Adriatic leisure aviation.
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
A mid-day Arrivals board for O.R. Tambo from a week or so after the previous posts, showing an all-African schedule at the continent's largest airport. Most are operated by hometown carrier South African Airways, and most flights are from the southern African region; indeed, the schedule represents almost every nation in the SADC league, with Gaborone, Botswana appearing three times, from the first, third, and second-to-last flight. Air Botswana operates that third flight, as well as one before it to remote Francistown.
There are other regional connections from Maseru, in Lesotho, the nation that is famously completely surrounded by South Africa; other nearby capitals of almost every other country that borders South Africa Maputo, Windhoek, Blantyre, and Lusaka flights by SAA, and a rare Air Zimbabwe flight from Harare is unsurprisingly delayed. Further afield, there is the trans-ocean service on Air Mauritius arriving just before noon. The more distant continental connections are the ubiquitous rivalry of Kenya Airways from Nairobi, Ethiopian from Addis Ababa, and Fastjet from Dar Es Salaam—that low-cost start-up's longest route.
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
An update of half an hour from the last post: the Asian long-hauls of Emirates and Singapore are delayed, while Qatar Airways is leaving on time for Doha. Ethiopian seems like it may not make it out on schedule, as the gates still open 25 minutes prior to pushback.
Another block of near and far intra-African flights on South African Airways has filled up the 3-4PM block: Maseru, Lesotho; Lagos, Nigeria, Douala, Cameroon, Maputo, Mozambique, Nairobi, Kenya, and Manzini, in Swaziland. After that, an Air Botswana short-hop to Gaborone (see also this post from the previous week).
Monday, January 15, 2018
Staying at the southern end of Africa, a schedule of three hours worth of international departures from O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, the busiest airport on the African continent. The board is dominated by hometown carrier South African Airways, with flights to Walvis Bay and Windhoek, both in Namibia; Lusaka, and Livingstone in Zambia; Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania and Entebbe in Uganda, as well as the final flight shown, to Harare, about two hours after Fastjet's flight to the Zimbabwean capital.
Indian ocean airlines are also seen here: Air Mauritius and Air Seychelles leave ten minutes apart. Ethiopian Airlines connects to Addis Ababa.
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Staying with Namibia, as from the previous post, here is a floor banner advertisement at the check-in desk of Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone, Botswana, seen in August 2017. Air Namibia is trying to make its lemon into a grapefruit, offering a convenient option connecting their own capital and that of their neighbor with South Africa's tertiary city—what is surely still a thin route. Almost all of Gaborone's air traffic routes through the short hop to the megacity of Johannesburg.
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
The recent coverage of KLM's long routes plunging down across the African continent to Johannesburg is relevant to this development from late 2016: the somewhat surprising move by the Dutch Airline to extend its formerly-lucrative Amsterdam—Luanda service to Windhoek, Namibia. Here a travel agency in the center of Nice, France, advertises the news with a plain paper printed notice in the shop window just a few weeks after the public announcement.
The service was celebrated as a major development for the country and an opportunity to boost business and tourism traffic. While it does offer an alternative to the relatively few European connections to the famously sparsely populated country, it presents stiff competition to the struggling national carrier.
Monday, January 8, 2018
Reminiscent of the mid-century route map of KLM posted earlier this month, this fascinating and somewhat confusing postcard, showing Iberia's entire route system, is dated to 1968 but seems a relic of even earlier years, given its semi-medieval, hand-painted style, especially the Gothic lettering of "Mare Oceanum" set vertically on the spine of the Atlantic Ridge. It is featured for sale at this website.
The anachronism is further enhanced by the curious and highly confusing use of older names for the destinations: Nouadhibou is still shown as Port-Etienne, Dakhla in Western Sahara is referenced as Villa Cisneros, and Malabo, capital of Spain's only sub-Saharan colony, is listed as Santa Isabel, which connected to the metropole of Madrid and the large station at Las Palmas, in the Canary Islands, and which has local links to mainland Bata and to Douala, in Cameroon, which is spelled with a "V" as if carved in marble.
The mysterious is "La Guera" which today can be found almost nowhere on any maps or airline schedules. Friends at Airline Memorabilia note that this was once an outpost in Spanish Sahara, now a ghost town. It is interesting to juxtapose this item with an Iberia route-map advertised twenty years later.
The barbell-style route system is focused, naturally, on Madrid, with feeder routes to the capitals of Western Europe, and which appears to have non-stops to Rio de Janeiro; the hub at Tenerife likewise has a non-stop to South America, reaching landfall at Montevideo; the network then extends across the southern cone to Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Santiago and upward to Lima, then Bogotá, then Caracas, where the route turns back to the Iberian peninsula or up to the Caribbean basin at San Juan.
Saturday, January 6, 2018
Zooming ahead several decades from yesterday's post, a circuit-board cartography shows the six-continent, circumnavigational system of KLM. Reminiscent of the powerful, dynamic abstractions of Lufthansa's famous spinnernetz Streckenatlas of the same era, the Royal Dutch route network is simplified into web of trunk routes, yielding only general information of the intercontinental connectivity performed by the carrier. Likewise, the continents are represented with mind-bending liberties; Alaska and South America in particular bearing only slight resemblance to their true shapes. The top portion of the literature shows four of KLM's ultramodern jetliners, especially the flagship B747-200Bs, DC-8s and DC-10s.
It is always remarkable to look back at the route maps of European flag carriers in this era, when more African capitals were served than American cities. Like many of those state airlines of the early jet age, KLM linked Europe to South America via the western edge of Africa, with Casablanca, Tangiers, and Freetown linked together in a right angle which continues on to Monrovia, Accra, Lomé and Lagos, making a northward left at Kano. A single line shoots off of Morocco for Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, ending at Santiago (nearly identical to Iberia's route shown in the previous post). Today, KLM still serves all of these Mercosur cities, except for Montevideo.
An eastern route crosses the Mediterranean to Cairo, onward to Khartoum, with an elbow passing through Nairobi—Kilimanjaro—Dar Es Salaam to end at Johannesburg. To this day KLM still flies to these three east African cities; indeed, KLM is the only European airline to fly to Kilimanjaro, but sadly and surprisingly, Cairo has been terminated, as was Khartoum.
Friday, January 5, 2018
In looking back at the once-prominent role of Kano in trans-Saharan aviation, here we look back at the pre-jet age, when KLM stretched just a few routes across the vast African continent. In this detail from the airline's route map in about 1955, the Amsterdam—Rome—Kano—Brazzaville—Johannesburg spine stretches down the center, a line which was featured far back in the early days of The Timetablist.
In the east, a bundle of routes pin at Cairo, with a single line appearing to run down to Khartoum. On the left side of the map, red lines bunch at Lisbon, where two split off, one seeming to stop at Sal in Cape Verde before heading to the northern coast of Brazil, while a second hugs the mainland, changing course slightly at Dakar, likely for Rio de Janeiro.
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
A detail of the previous post, shown the domestic network of Nigeria Airways in May 1979; a barbell system with poles at Lagos in the south and Kano in the north.
Monday, January 1, 2018
Having now extensively reviewed the myriad airlines of contemporary and recent Nigeria, this New Year's Day we look back almost forty years to the era of the Winged Elephant, when the green-striped jets of Nigeria Airways ruled the skies.
Similar to previous features on The Timetablist, the national carrier was seeking the discerning eye of the Air Transport World reader in May, 1979, boasting of its "luxurious DC10," to "the nerve center of business in Africa," Lagos, but also throughout West Africa, as is helpfully shown in the route map at lower left.
What is today an aviation market arranged around the twin poles of Lagos and Abuja was, before Abuja was realized, organized between the southern hub of Lagos and the northern gateway of Kano, from whence intercontinental flights crossed the Sahara to European metropoles, including Rome and Amsterdam, but likewise eastward to the Middle East; the Kano—Jeddah link was recently revived but in those days the operation had the somewhat unusual final termination point of Karachi. A sort of code share, presumably on Egyptair, linked Cairo—Athens. Note also the cross-border link from Kano to Niamey, Niger.
There was a second non-stop to London from Lagos, but mostly this was the start of the coastal routes along West Africa's edge, Cotonou—Lomé—Accra—Abidjan—Monrovia, where the widebody headed nonstop for New York JFK, while the smaller elements of the fleet linked Freetown—Banjul—Dakar and back in a minihub. There was a nonstop from Lagos to Douala, and also a connection to southeastern Calabar, as well as flights to Libreville and Nairobi.
Sunday, December 31, 2017
This item from the dusty archives of The Timetablist's dusty archives is an undated relic of the low-graphic era of a decade ago, when Chanchangi Air Lines was a means of travel within Nigeria. The 8-bit emblem of the airline and the card-deck zoom-in of the map of Nigeria further limit the sophistication of the visual message.
Unlike the previous post, Yola was not served, but Port Harcourt and Kaduna apparently were, including an especially short hop between Abuja and Kaduna.
Saturday, December 30, 2017
After having considered the curiously named Med-View, Air Peace, and IRS Airlines, The Timetablist now introduces yet another chapter in the colorful and strange modern history of Nigerian commercial aviation by premiering Chanchangi Air Lines, which seemed to have existed from around 2003 to about 2012, although this odd, blurry social media graphic was posted in August 2013 to the airline's now quiet Facebook page.
The airline's Wikipedia article details its regional ambitions, but by the time the social media era came into full swing, the airline seems to have only served Abuja, Lagos, and Yola, the latter being the commercial airport closest to the carrier's founder's home village, for which the airline was named.
As much as Med-View has intercontinental ambitions, in presuming the mantle of "the Airline of Nigeria," it was taken on a network and route strategy very similar to previous air carriers from Nigeria such as Arik, going all the way back to the original Nigeria Airways.
As recently shown in these social media posts, Med-View has launched services along the West African coast, from Lagos to Monrovia (via Accra, of course), which is shown here in a gloomy, off-centered image of the city's squat legislative building; and all the way up to Dakar, where a gorgeous photo of Gorée Island references DKR, the old Yoff airport, which closed this same month. All flights to the Senegalese capital have since shifted to the brand-new Blaise Diagne International in distant Diass.
Friday, December 29, 2017
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
An enticing picture of the corniche of Jeddah glows from Med-View Airline's social media accounts a year on from the previous post. However, Med-View does not serve Jeddah directly from Lagos; instead the connection is Kaduna—Kano—Jeddah, resurrecting Kano's former role as the northern international gateway for all of Nigeria.
Supplementally confusing is the city list at the bottom; while the destinations listed there are among those Med-View serves, several of them (Enugu, Ilorin, Owerri, and Port Harcourt) including many of the more ambitious (Baltimore, Houston, Johannesburg, Lisbon) are not served by the airline, and no plans have been announced. This, too, is reminiscent of earlier episodes in Nigeria's airline history.
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Med-View Airline boasts of its long-haul operations, specifically its thrice-weekly flights from Lagos to London-Gatwick, shown here in a social media post from November 2016, with the skies over Westminster appropriately stormy. At lower left, the dark room of Portcullis House makes the tricolored schedule a bit challenging to read, and its not clear if the times listed are departure times, which would make them day flights.
Saturday, December 23, 2017
Continuing with a survey of the changing landscape of Nigerian air carriers, The Timetablist features MedView Airline here for the first time. Styled as Med-View on the side of its growing fleet of aircraft, like many of the other upstarts, started recently but has been fast-expanding into the vacuum left by the near-fatal collapse of Arik Air.
Med-View has recently emerged as Nigeria's de-facto flag carrier, listing on the country's stock exchange in July and launching prestigious Dubai and London connections formerly operated by Arik, (although the London flights are merely to Gatwick and the Dubai routes have since been shifted to seasonal services). Indeed, the airline now festoons "The Airline of Nigeria" on its cheat-line.
Before that push, Med-View began as a domestic carrier, as shown above on this graphic from four years ago, although it's not entirely clear if the airline is stating that the new routes from September 2013 are Port Harcourt to Abuja and Lagos to Enugu.
Thursday, December 21, 2017
If Arik Air doesn't offer the right route or a convenient schedule, the Nigerian air traveler's next option, at least a decade ago, might have been the reassuringly named IRS Airlines, which is even more non-Nigerian and strangely American in its livery, with a red-white-and-yellow emblem in the shape of an eagle's head, like a rejected US Postal Service logo, as seen on this magazine advertisement from about ten years ago, which marks the premier of this airline on The Timetablist.
What is not so reassuring is that the airline's Facebook Page has not been updated since 2011, and the airline's website isn't loading. Who knows where the initials came from, but at one point this curious carrier linked much of northern Nigeria, including Kano, Kaduna, Maiduguri, Sokoto, and Yola with Abuja and Lagos as well as southern cities like Benin, Port Harcourt and Owerri.
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Down is up in this social media graphic from Dana Air, which at least seems to clarify its exact route network, although somewhat upside down, as Lagos is in the south, Abuja in the north, and Uyo in the far southeast. Based on this, it seems impossible to fly non-stop on Nigeria's trunk route, the air bridge between the capital Abuja and the commercial megacity, Lagos, unless this flow-chart is merely stylistic and doesn't, in fact, reflect the airline's operations.
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Another of Nigeria's private sector airlines is Dana Air, which started flying in 2008 and is featured here on The Timetablist for the first time. Like Air Peace and Arik Air, have shunned the slightest inclusion of green in their liveries, ensuring no association with the state. And like Air Peace, Dana Air runs domestically between the big three airports: Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt, while also serving, somewhat more randomly, the city of Uyo in the far southeast, formerly in Cross River State.
While those cities are listed several times on this social media post from two years ago, the main focus of the promotion is on the Lagos—Accra vv., the airline's lone international operation, which at some point in the last two years has been withdrawn: the airline has reverted to solely domestic operations, although the airline has subsequently added flights to Owerri.
Friday, December 15, 2017
Accra has become established as perhaps the principal aviation cross-roads of West Africa, with the appearance of such unusual carriers as Cronos and CEIBA Intercontinental, as referenced in posts from earlier this month. Even more central to its position in the region is the importance of flights to Nigeria, most especially the critical Accra-Lagos air bridge, the busiest air corridor in all of West and Central Africa (although still minuscule in comparison to other famous shuttle routes such as São Paulo-Rio, Boston-New York-Washington, or Madrid-Barcelona, etc.
The Timetablist has repeatedly featured the tragic circumstance of the short-lived Nigerian Air Carrier, be it the long-lost Nigeria Airways itself, or its series of successors, most famously in the last decade the Virgin Nigeria-Air Nigeria saga, which is now repeated with near-exact trajectory by the once-proud and now much-diminished Arik Air; it would be shocking if not so repetitive.
In place of these companies now comes the latest and most-curious generation, which will be the subject of The Timetablist for the remainder of the month. These airlines are universally unusual and unreassuring in their appearance and appellation, all the moreso for their short lifespan.
This particular transporter, named Air Peace, was established in 2013 and premiers in The Timetablist here for the first time. The company heightened its profile in February of this year by the introduction of a daily Lagos-Accra return schedule, performed by one the airline's various B737s—whether purchased or leased, the 733s and 735s are all of about 1997 vintage, which at least accords with the anachronistic paint scheme.
Comfort is not further provided in this announcement, as while it is all well to feature the airline's other destinations, all domestic, the Coming Soon section surely invites only ridicule, or else Air Peace is on an expansion plan of historic efforts. Abidjan, Dakar, Douala and Niamey are reasonable achievable; London, Dubai, and Johannesburg certainly less-so, although Arik, and Virgin Nigeria in an earlier age, made similar plans. However, Atlanta, Mumbai, and the expansion simply referred to as 'China' seem to perhaps be more likely to require "more long wait."
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Someone knew their way around MS Word enough to author this straight-forward table of services for ECAir, the trade-name of Equatorial Congo Airlines, flag-carrier of the Republic of Congo, featured here on The Timetablist for the first time. For the month of October 2016 only, the schedule is divided into three tables: Domestic (detailing only the twice-daily flights between the capital Brazzaville and the Atlantic oil-hub at coastal Pointe-Noire) on a sizable B757.
In addition, an interesting sub-index of riverine runs across the mighty Congo to the nearby capital of the DRC, Kinshasa Central Station, almost recalling the manner in which Lufthansa or other European carriers link rail services to their timetables. The equipment type designates "HOV" which can only stand for Hovercraft or High Occupancy Vehicle, or both. No such ferry services specifically featuring a hovercraft are easily located.
The next block, regional services, lists once-weekly flights to and from Douala, Cotonou, Libreville, and Bamako-Dakar. More obvious links to Abidjan and Lomé are not part of the operation. Somewhat fascinating to see a large B767 on these routes.
Undoubtedly the pride of the company were the afternoon long-haul operations, alternating every other day between Paris-CDG and Dubai International with the B767 wet-leased from the Swiss charter company, PrivatAir, as the airline remained forever banned from bringing its own equipment into the airspace of the European Union.
Sadly however, in the very time frame that this schedule contemplates, the airline was shut-down in the same month, sadly never to be revived.
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Little Equatorial Guinea has not one but two airlines; the privately-formed Cronos, detailed in the previous posts, and the state carrier, CEIBA Intercontinental, which mimics its sister with a series of regional routes, including Accra, Lomé, and Douala, but interestingly, according to this map, avoiding Yaoundé and Lagos. The airline also extends further, reaching Abidjan and Dakar, as well as Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo.
Undoubtedly the pride of CEIBA's services is the long-haul to Madrid. The sole long-haul operation flying the Equatoguinean flag reaches Barajas in the erstwhile colonial metropole thrice-weekly. As a carrier still banned by the European Union, with a B777 operated by Portuguese aviation company White Airways, complete with a 3-class configuration.
The other proximas routes shown here: Casablanca, Johannesburg, Las Palmas, Lisbon and Luanda, have never come to pass.
Monday, December 11, 2017
Sunday, December 10, 2017
This banner stand has been displayed outside an Accra travel agency for years, marketing the incredibly obscure Cronos Airlines, premiering here on The Timetablist for the first time. Cronos's tiny fleet of Bae-146s have since about 2014 flown from Kotoka International Airport to Malabo, capital of Equatorial Guinea, along with routes to the country's mainland commercial center, Bata, and flights to Cameroon's commercial capital, Douala (although the latter two are not non-stop).
Saturday, December 9, 2017
As mentioned in the previous post, the Accra-Monrovia sector was once the third-busiest route pair in West and Central Africa. Lomé-based ASKY Airlines for a time plied the corridor, for a time even acting as the sole carrier to Monrovia's secondary, inner-city airfield, Spriggs-Payne, but has since completely withdrawn from serving Liberia.
The above route map, from mid-2016, shows Liberia and Sierra Leone as a gap in the carrier's extensive West African coverage, spinning out from Togo with a number of secondary links between regional capitals such as Niamey, Abuja, Libreville and Conakry in particular but also reaching under-served cities like Bangui and Bissau.
Overlaid with ASKY's web are the bright green long-haul connections of parent company Ethiopian Airlines: to Addis Ababa, New York, and São Paulo. The Brazilian route, unfortunately, did not last (the airline switched the GRU non-stop to its Addis Ababa hub this year), but Ethiopian continues to invest in the ASKY project—and the Togolese government has responded with the opening of an enormous new terminal at Tokion in April of 2016. Since this time, Ethiopian has been able to sustain the transatlantic service to Newark, making tiny Lomé one of the just four West African airports with non-stop service to the United States.
Friday, December 8, 2017
From the pages of the small-circulation Business and Financial Times of Ghana earlier this month, a bright-red announcement of the latest expansion of Accra-based Africa World Airlines. While still barely regional, and hardly global as its grandiose name implies, AWA is adding another city and another country to its network, with thrice-weekly service to Roberts International Airport in Liberia. The Accra-Monrovia route was at one point the third busiest in West Africa, with stiff competition between Kenya Airways, Arik Air, and earlier augmentation by Air Nigeria and even Delta Air Lines. The Ebola Crisis changed all that, with only Kenya and Arik returning to the route; but this 2-hour Embraer flight marks a significant retrenchment of the link.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
It is by now obvious to remark that the world's aviation market is now at the dawn of a golden age of low-cost long-haul flying. While largely pioneered in parts of Australasia, the fast-expanding boom is currently focused on the North Atlantic market, led by the seemingly now-ubiquitous Norwegian Air Shuttle.
From its first B787 deliveries, the airline has forayed far and wide, first to Fort Lauderdale and New York JFK, then Bangkok. At the beginning of this year, the young but well-funded airline shocked the Northern Hemisphere with the sudden announcement of a huge capacity increase, made possible by the arrival of brand-new next-generation B737Max jets. Norwegian paired off six northwestern European cities: Belfast, Bergen, Cork, Dublin, Edinburgh and Shannon, with three New England airports: Hartford, Providence, and, most surprisingly, Stewart Airport in suburban Westchester County, New York. As can be seen above, the map is now to crowded to follow each individual route line.
Further complicating comprehension, this route map also has almost as many future destinations as current operations. Over the next twelve months, the ever-growing fleet of red-throated Dreamliners will take to the Scandinavian skies to reach a further four U.S. airports: Austin, Chicago, Denver and Seattle are all scheduled before summer 2018. Norwegian also continues its Southeast Asian expansion with the addition of Gatwick-Singapore in September, going head-to-head with aviation's biggest players in a highly competitive corridor.
That flight will not be the airline's only super long-haul out of Gatwick. Within the same time frame, Norwegian will also reach its first South American destination, Buenos Aires, from Gatwick. A rather unexpected venture, the route is especially noteworthy not only as Norwegian spreads to yet another continent, but that the airline already has a long-haul base under development at Barcelona, where IAG's brand-new LCLH Level is flying to Buenos Aires, which, furthermore, is in direct competition with legacy flag carrier Aerolineas Argentinas, one of that once-great carrier's few remaining European destinations.
With industry observers already questioning the Norwegian's rapid long-haul expansion and its business practices in general, we'll have to see if Norwegian can really maintain these routes, much less continue its global domination.
With industry observers already questioning the Norwegian's rapid long-haul expansion and its business practices in general, we'll have to see if Norwegian can really maintain these routes, much less continue its global domination.