Saturday, October 15, 2011

Delta Air Lines: The African Routes, Summer 2011

It is quite revealing to juxtapose this map with its iteration from two years previous. Delta's expansion into Africa has been an unquestioned success, even if some of its plans for linking the continent have not come to pass.

Aside from the long transatlantic lines coming across the page from Atlanta and JFK, what may be most striking is the appearance of a minihub at Accra's Kotoka, with services to both American gateways, as well as onward flights to Monrovia and Abuja (indirect service to the capital via Ghana surely stings many proud Nigerians; whereas most Liberians are merely thrilled to have the US carrier at all--and revel in its recent announcement of a third weekly Atlanta connection). A third spin-off is optimistically drawn to connect Malabo, the tiny capital of the tiny, and hugely wealthy, oil-rich state of Equatorial Guinea.

Absent is the erstwhile Cape Town service, and there is no mention of Sal in Cape Verde (itself originally conceived as a minihub), nor any onward services to Nairobi and Luanda, the latter entirely excluded from the map. Johannesburg is reached by a long stretch from Atlanta, by-passing the earlier way station at Dakar-Yoff.

The Arab Spring left Cairo off Delta's system for the summer; the airline's only Middle East destination is currently Dubai, besides its connections to Ben Gurion. Amman was tried and dropped. India is still reached from Amsterdam, a legacy of the Northwest Airlines partnership with KLM.

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