Sunday, December 31, 2017
This item from the dusty archives of The Timetablist's dusty archives is an undated relic of the low-graphic era of a decade ago, when Chanchangi Air Lines was a means of travel within Nigeria. The 8-bit emblem of the airline and the card-deck zoom-in of the map of Nigeria further limit the sophistication of the visual message.
Unlike the previous post, Yola was not served, but Port Harcourt and Kaduna apparently were, including an especially short hop between Abuja and Kaduna.
Saturday, December 30, 2017
After having considered the curiously named Med-View, Air Peace, and IRS Airlines, The Timetablist now introduces yet another chapter in the colorful and strange modern history of Nigerian commercial aviation by premiering Chanchangi Air Lines, which seemed to have existed from around 2003 to about 2012, although this odd, blurry social media graphic was posted in August 2013 to the airline's now quiet Facebook page.
The airline's Wikipedia article details its regional ambitions, but by the time the social media era came into full swing, the airline seems to have only served Abuja, Lagos, and Yola, the latter being the commercial airport closest to the carrier's founder's home village, for which the airline was named.
As much as Med-View has intercontinental ambitions, in presuming the mantle of "the Airline of Nigeria," it was taken on a network and route strategy very similar to previous air carriers from Nigeria such as Arik, going all the way back to the original Nigeria Airways.
As recently shown in these social media posts, Med-View has launched services along the West African coast, from Lagos to Monrovia (via Accra, of course), which is shown here in a gloomy, off-centered image of the city's squat legislative building; and all the way up to Dakar, where a gorgeous photo of Gorée Island references DKR, the old Yoff airport, which closed this same month. All flights to the Senegalese capital have since shifted to the brand-new Blaise Diagne International in distant Diass.
Friday, December 29, 2017
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
An enticing picture of the corniche of Jeddah glows from Med-View Airline's social media accounts a year on from the previous post. However, Med-View does not serve Jeddah directly from Lagos; instead the connection is Kaduna—Kano—Jeddah, resurrecting Kano's former role as the northern international gateway for all of Nigeria.
Supplementally confusing is the city list at the bottom; while the destinations listed there are among those Med-View serves, several of them (Enugu, Ilorin, Owerri, and Port Harcourt) including many of the more ambitious (Baltimore, Houston, Johannesburg, Lisbon) are not served by the airline, and no plans have been announced. This, too, is reminiscent of earlier episodes in Nigeria's airline history.
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Med-View Airline boasts of its long-haul operations, specifically its thrice-weekly flights from Lagos to London-Gatwick, shown here in a social media post from November 2016, with the skies over Westminster appropriately stormy. At lower left, the dark room of Portcullis House makes the tricolored schedule a bit challenging to read, and its not clear if the times listed are departure times, which would make them day flights.
Saturday, December 23, 2017
Continuing with a survey of the changing landscape of Nigerian air carriers, The Timetablist features MedView Airline here for the first time. Styled as Med-View on the side of its growing fleet of aircraft, like many of the other upstarts, started recently but has been fast-expanding into the vacuum left by the near-fatal collapse of Arik Air.
Med-View has recently emerged as Nigeria's de-facto flag carrier, listing on the country's stock exchange in July and launching prestigious Dubai and London connections formerly operated by Arik, (although the London flights are merely to Gatwick and the Dubai routes have since been shifted to seasonal services). Indeed, the airline now festoons "The Airline of Nigeria" on its cheat-line.
Before that push, Med-View began as a domestic carrier, as shown above on this graphic from four years ago, although it's not entirely clear if the airline is stating that the new routes from September 2013 are Port Harcourt to Abuja and Lagos to Enugu.
Thursday, December 21, 2017
If Arik Air doesn't offer the right route or a convenient schedule, the Nigerian air traveler's next option, at least a decade ago, might have been the reassuringly named IRS Airlines, which is even more non-Nigerian and strangely American in its livery, with a red-white-and-yellow emblem in the shape of an eagle's head, like a rejected US Postal Service logo, as seen on this magazine advertisement from about ten years ago, which marks the premier of this airline on The Timetablist.
What is not so reassuring is that the airline's Facebook Page has not been updated since 2011, and the airline's website isn't loading. Who knows where the initials came from, but at one point this curious carrier linked much of northern Nigeria, including Kano, Kaduna, Maiduguri, Sokoto, and Yola with Abuja and Lagos as well as southern cities like Benin, Port Harcourt and Owerri.
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Down is up in this social media graphic from Dana Air, which at least seems to clarify its exact route network, although somewhat upside down, as Lagos is in the south, Abuja in the north, and Uyo in the far southeast. Based on this, it seems impossible to fly non-stop on Nigeria's trunk route, the air bridge between the capital Abuja and the commercial megacity, Lagos, unless this flow-chart is merely stylistic and doesn't, in fact, reflect the airline's operations.
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Another of Nigeria's private sector airlines is Dana Air, which started flying in 2008 and is featured here on The Timetablist for the first time. Like Air Peace and Arik Air, have shunned the slightest inclusion of green in their liveries, ensuring no association with the state. And like Air Peace, Dana Air runs domestically between the big three airports: Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt, while also serving, somewhat more randomly, the city of Uyo in the far southeast, formerly in Cross River State.
While those cities are listed several times on this social media post from two years ago, the main focus of the promotion is on the Lagos—Accra vv., the airline's lone international operation, which at some point in the last two years has been withdrawn: the airline has reverted to solely domestic operations, although the airline has subsequently added flights to Owerri.
Friday, December 15, 2017
Accra has become established as perhaps the principal aviation cross-roads of West Africa, with the appearance of such unusual carriers as Cronos and CEIBA Intercontinental, as referenced in posts from earlier this month. Even more central to its position in the region is the importance of flights to Nigeria, most especially the critical Accra-Lagos air bridge, the busiest air corridor in all of West and Central Africa (although still minuscule in comparison to other famous shuttle routes such as São Paulo-Rio, Boston-New York-Washington, or Madrid-Barcelona, etc.
The Timetablist has repeatedly featured the tragic circumstance of the short-lived Nigerian Air Carrier, be it the long-lost Nigeria Airways itself, or its series of successors, most famously in the last decade the Virgin Nigeria-Air Nigeria saga, which is now repeated with near-exact trajectory by the once-proud and now much-diminished Arik Air; it would be shocking if not so repetitive.
In place of these companies now comes the latest and most-curious generation, which will be the subject of The Timetablist for the remainder of the month. These airlines are universally unusual and unreassuring in their appearance and appellation, all the moreso for their short lifespan.
This particular transporter, named Air Peace, was established in 2013 and premiers in The Timetablist here for the first time. The company heightened its profile in February of this year by the introduction of a daily Lagos-Accra return schedule, performed by one the airline's various B737s—whether purchased or leased, the 733s and 735s are all of about 1997 vintage, which at least accords with the anachronistic paint scheme.
Comfort is not further provided in this announcement, as while it is all well to feature the airline's other destinations, all domestic, the Coming Soon section surely invites only ridicule, or else Air Peace is on an expansion plan of historic efforts. Abidjan, Dakar, Douala and Niamey are reasonable achievable; London, Dubai, and Johannesburg certainly less-so, although Arik, and Virgin Nigeria in an earlier age, made similar plans. However, Atlanta, Mumbai, and the expansion simply referred to as 'China' seem to perhaps be more likely to require "more long wait."
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Someone knew their way around MS Word enough to author this straight-forward table of services for ECAir, the trade-name of Equatorial Congo Airlines, flag-carrier of the Republic of Congo, featured here on The Timetablist for the first time. For the month of October 2016 only, the schedule is divided into three tables: Domestic (detailing only the twice-daily flights between the capital Brazzaville and the Atlantic oil-hub at coastal Pointe-Noire) on a sizable B757.
In addition, an interesting sub-index of riverine runs across the mighty Congo to the nearby capital of the DRC, Kinshasa Central Station, almost recalling the manner in which Lufthansa or other European carriers link rail services to their timetables. The equipment type designates "HOV" which can only stand for Hovercraft or High Occupancy Vehicle, or both. No such ferry services specifically featuring a hovercraft are easily located.
The next block, regional services, lists once-weekly flights to and from Douala, Cotonou, Libreville, and Bamako-Dakar. More obvious links to Abidjan and Lomé are not part of the operation. Somewhat fascinating to see a large B767 on these routes.
Undoubtedly the pride of the company were the afternoon long-haul operations, alternating every other day between Paris-CDG and Dubai International with the B767 wet-leased from the Swiss charter company, PrivatAir, as the airline remained forever banned from bringing its own equipment into the airspace of the European Union.
Sadly however, in the very time frame that this schedule contemplates, the airline was shut-down in the same month, sadly never to be revived.
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Little Equatorial Guinea has not one but two airlines; the privately-formed Cronos, detailed in the previous posts, and the state carrier, CEIBA Intercontinental, which mimics its sister with a series of regional routes, including Accra, Lomé, and Douala, but interestingly, according to this map, avoiding Yaoundé and Lagos. The airline also extends further, reaching Abidjan and Dakar, as well as Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo.
Undoubtedly the pride of CEIBA's services is the long-haul to Madrid. The sole long-haul operation flying the Equatoguinean flag reaches Barajas in the erstwhile colonial metropole thrice-weekly. As a carrier still banned by the European Union, with a B777 operated by Portuguese aviation company White Airways, complete with a 3-class configuration.
The other proximas routes shown here: Casablanca, Johannesburg, Las Palmas, Lisbon and Luanda, have never come to pass.
Monday, December 11, 2017
Sunday, December 10, 2017
This banner stand has been displayed outside an Accra travel agency for years, marketing the incredibly obscure Cronos Airlines, premiering here on The Timetablist for the first time. Cronos's tiny fleet of Bae-146s have since about 2014 flown from Kotoka International Airport to Malabo, capital of Equatorial Guinea, along with routes to the country's mainland commercial center, Bata, and flights to Cameroon's commercial capital, Douala (although the latter two are not non-stop).
Saturday, December 9, 2017
As mentioned in the previous post, the Accra-Monrovia sector was once the third-busiest route pair in West and Central Africa. Lomé-based ASKY Airlines for a time plied the corridor, for a time even acting as the sole carrier to Monrovia's secondary, inner-city airfield, Spriggs-Payne, but has since completely withdrawn from serving Liberia.
The above route map, from mid-2016, shows Liberia and Sierra Leone as a gap in the carrier's extensive West African coverage, spinning out from Togo with a number of secondary links between regional capitals such as Niamey, Abuja, Libreville and Conakry in particular but also reaching under-served cities like Bangui and Bissau.
Overlaid with ASKY's web are the bright green long-haul connections of parent company Ethiopian Airlines: to Addis Ababa, New York, and São Paulo. The Brazilian route, unfortunately, did not last (the airline switched the GRU non-stop to its Addis Ababa hub this year), but Ethiopian continues to invest in the ASKY project—and the Togolese government has responded with the opening of an enormous new terminal at Tokion in April of 2016. Since this time, Ethiopian has been able to sustain the transatlantic service to Newark, making tiny Lomé one of the just four West African airports with non-stop service to the United States.
Friday, December 8, 2017
From the pages of the small-circulation Business and Financial Times of Ghana earlier this month, a bright-red announcement of the latest expansion of Accra-based Africa World Airlines. While still barely regional, and hardly global as its grandiose name implies, AWA is adding another city and another country to its network, with thrice-weekly service to Roberts International Airport in Liberia. The Accra-Monrovia route was at one point the third busiest in West Africa, with stiff competition between Kenya Airways, Arik Air, and earlier augmentation by Air Nigeria and even Delta Air Lines. The Ebola Crisis changed all that, with only Kenya and Arik returning to the route; but this 2-hour Embraer flight marks a significant retrenchment of the link.