Tuesday, November 1, 2016

TAROM Romanian Airlines: Worldwide Routes, c.1974

Continuing to look at the global extent of the airlines of the Eastern Bloc at their height, this unique map shows the routes of TAROM, the Romanian state carrier spreading across four continents. 
There are plenty of routes within Europe, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, culminating in an interesting BucharestPragueAmsterdamNew York schedule as its sole operation across the Atlantic. This route may or may not have stopped in Gander—it is difficult to be certain as the cartography inconsistently marks destinations, with the red lines variously pass over or turn at a city without a marker, or break at a city on the map, or such breaks are marked by a circle around the underlying city.  

Several lines cross the Mediterranean to Algiers and Tripoli (possibly by way of Benghazi) in a similar vein to Czechoslovak Airlines. 


What is unquestionably the most notable aspect of the airline's operation occurs on the southeastern corner of the map: the long, winding tentacle reaching its way from Bucharest to Istanbul, then onward to Tehran and then reaching Karachi, where it elbow-bends along the Indus and over the Himalayas to reach Urumchi in Chinese Turkestan, where it continues across the vast People's Republic, where it seems to waystation at Hami, Yumen, and Taiyoun to finally terminate at Beijing

With just a little over 100,000 people live in tiny Yumen City, in Gansu province, which doesn't even boast an airport. While Hami, a small outpost in Xinjiang, has a regional airport, and Taiyoun's Wusu International is the principal airport of Shanxi Province, there are few international flights, and no European service, from these three cities. This trans-Socialist aviation envoy is surely a rarity in aviation history. 

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