Thursday, January 26, 2017

Imperial Airways: The Empire Route, 1937

Continuing from yesterday's post, Imperial Airways's great Empire Route across south Asia and on to Australia features a number of small way stations which could hardly be found on a map today, much less having any import to commercial aviation. 

While Allahabad, in Uttar Pradesh, at least has an airport to this day, it is only served by a commuter connection from Delhi. Gwadar, the once-great Omani port of Baluchistan, is likewise a tiny regional airport today. In northwesternmost Burma, Akyab, known today as Sittwe, is similarly linked only to Yangon by regional airlines, although it has retained the original airport code AKY.

Somewhat bucking this trend is Koepang, in the pre-war era the next stop after Batavia (today Jakarta) and the largest city on Indonesian (west) Timor, which today hosts an active regional airport.

In Australia itself, tiny Normanton, Queensland, today has no air service and is best known for its historic, gold-rush era railway. Cloncurry, Queensland is likewise today a remote outpost without any air service. The third and final Queensland outpost before the coast, Charleville, retains an airport today, with Qantaslink service into Brisbane

Note that the map appears to keep some stations unlisted: it certainly appears that the trunk route makes a turn at Bangkok, but this is unlabeled, and there is an even more meandering line through Indochina up to Hong Kong, but no stops are shown here.