Monday, January 8, 2018
Iberia Network, c.1968
Reminiscent of the mid-century route map of KLM posted earlier this month, this fascinating and somewhat confusing postcard, showing Iberia's entire route system, is dated to 1968 but seems a relic of even earlier years, given its semi-medieval, hand-painted style, especially the Gothic lettering of "Mare Oceanum" set vertically on the spine of the Atlantic Ridge. It is featured for sale at this website.
The anachronism is further enhanced by the curious and highly confusing use of older names for the destinations: Nouadhibou is still shown as Port-Etienne, Dakhla in Western Sahara is referenced as Villa Cisneros, and Malabo, capital of Spain's only sub-Saharan colony, is listed as Santa Isabel, which connected to the metropole of Madrid and the large station at Las Palmas, in the Canary Islands, and which has local links to mainland Bata and to Douala, in Cameroon, which is spelled with a "V" as if carved in marble.
The mysterious is "La Guera" which today can be found almost nowhere on any maps or airline schedules. Friends at Airline Memorabilia note that this was once an outpost in Spanish Sahara, now a ghost town. It is interesting to juxtapose this item with an Iberia route-map advertised twenty years later.
The barbell-style route system is focused, naturally, on Madrid, with feeder routes to the capitals of Western Europe, and which appears to have non-stops to Rio de Janeiro; the hub at Tenerife likewise has a non-stop to South America, reaching landfall at Montevideo; the network then extends across the southern cone to Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Santiago and upward to Lima, then Bogotá, then Caracas, where the route turns back to the Iberian peninsula or up to the Caribbean basin at San Juan.