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. 

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