Friday, January 27, 2017

Imperial Airways, 1937: The African Routes

As with its trans-Asian operations shown yesterday, the technology available to Imperial Airways in the early age of aviation necessitated a series of regular way stations for the royal charter's southerly system spanning Africa.

After the upper Nile, the line made its way to Khartoum, whence it splits, with one line turning to the west: KanoLagosAccra and finally Takoradi, which only has domestic links today. There must have been pitstops in the drylands of French Central Africa but these are unnamed here; the paths of the green routes, connecting Algeria and Morocco to Niger and then the Congo, and reaching across to Madagascar, suggest French operations.

Continuing to follow the Nile south, the Cairo-to-Cape line stopped at Malakal, toady in South Sudan, then fanned across British East Africa in a complex web which appears to shown that one set of services remained inland along the Great Rift, passing through Nairobi on the way to Lusaka, Salisbury (today Harare) and Bulawayo in Rhodesia, and  then finally ending at Johannesburg

Another schedule reached the Swahili coast at MombasaDar Es Salaam(Ma)lindi and coastal Mozambique, with a bridge connection through Nyasaland at Blantyre, passing through Lourenço Marques (today Maputo) to terminate at Durban. The unlabeled green lines with the Union clearly suggest an early-stage South African Airways, reaching both Cape Town and Windhoek.