Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Arik Air: 3x Weekly Dakar—Lagos, November 2018

As is the customary life arc for a Nigerian airline, Arik Air is much diminished from its former glory; its network is limited to the African continent, and at that it is limited by West Africa's classic checkerboard conundrum, in which there are very few links between Anglophone and Francophone nations. 

Lagos, Accra, Abidjan and Dakar are the pairs of cities which most frequently cross over this barrier, and recently Arik Air has been the Anglophonic regional carrier preforming such operations, as shown here in a floor banner at the recently-completed Blaise Daigne International Airport far outside of Dakar. The deep blue polyurethane sheet details Arik's thrice-weekly link to Lagos, which operates late at night, departing Lagos on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays and returning after midnight on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Abuja and Accra are shown but apparently only for suggestive purposes. The airline's own winged logo is absent. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Turkish Airlines to Port Harcourt, 2019

Continuing from the previous post, Turkish Airlines has grown over the last decade to become the airline serving the most destinations of any carrier on the planet. Much of this expansive roster has come via a comprehensive African strategy, serving far more cities on the continent than any European or Middle Eastern carrier. Here is a magazine advertisement from last year boasting of the addition of the airline's third Nigerian city: the southern petrol hub of Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta, which is now connected to Istanbul along with Lagos, Abuja, although it is somewhat unclear whether Turkish still flies to Kanorecords suggest this flight was stopped several years ago.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Turkish Airlines to Luxor, October 2019

A magazine advertisement announcing Turkish Airlines's new link to Luxor, in the Upper Egyptian tourism zone along the Nile, which the airline commenced in October of last year with a thrice weekly A321 service, which is astonishingly the airline's 244th international destination—Turkish serves by far the most foreign cities of any airline.  

Friday, May 29, 2020

Discover Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport, 2019

While the last few posts have discussed Istanbul's old Atatürk Airport, which closed last year to passenger flights, which shifted to the gigantic new airport, the Asian side of the city also has a large international airport: Sabiha Gökçen, which is advertised here by Turkish Airlines, At this particular moment in time, TK was expanding its presence at the secondary base, and at the bottom of this print advert is a list of almost twenty destinations in Europe and the Near East, from Kuwait to London (although it doesn't say which airport). The mention of "Northern Cyprus" likewise does not get specific, but presumably this refers to Ercan International Airport. 

After the opening of the new airport, Turkish re-centralized its mainline operations, and transferred almost all its international flights from SAW to its wholly-owned subsidiary, AnadoluJet. By the end fo the first quarter of 2020, Turkish only served a few domestic routes from SAW, which is dominated by rival low-cost Turkish carrier Pegasus Airlines, which links Istanbul's Asian districts as far as Manchester and Karachi. 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Istanbul Atatürk Airport Departure Board, December 2017

Continuing from the previous post, some nine months and 12 hours later, the same departure monitor screens inside the Turkish Airlines lounge at Istanbul Atatürk Airport, showing the bank of midnight flights across the globe, with nearly as much activity as in midday. As at all hours, home town flag carrier Turkish dominates the schedule, again challenging even the geographically astute by linking to such unusual and far-flung destinations as Antananarivo, Kabul, Ufa and Seychelles. Turkey's other airlines make an appearance, with Onurair flying to Nalchek in the Russian Caucuses at twenty past 12AM, and the now-defunct AtlasGlobal with a delayed take-off to Baghdad.  

There are several regional rarities that make an appearance, including Turkmenistan Airlines to Ashgabat (here spelt Ashgabad) as was featured on the Timetablist last month. The rather sketchy SCAT Airlines takes off for the uranium town of Aktau on the Caspian Coast of Westernmost Kazakhstan at ten til 2AM. 

The destination most frequently listed in this time block is Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport, listed 5 separate times, not only via Turkish at 11:45 but also Iranian carriers Aseman Airlines ("EP"), ATA Airlines (noted with the code "TBZ" as the very first entry) and Zagros Airlines at 2AM (also referred to with its longer ICAO code "IZG"). Since this time, according to the usually-reliable tables at Wikipedia, both ATA and Zagros no longer fly this route, nor indeed maintain a base at IKA altogether, shifting to solely domestic operations at Tehran's older secondary airport, Mehrabad International. 

One last mystery on the board are the two Egyptair flights MS9306 to Baku at 1:35 and MS9360 at 1:40 to Tokyo-Narita. They're frequent enough to be logged but what are these? Charter flights? 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Istanbul Atatürk Departure Board, Late March 2017

The mid-day departure board at Istanbul's Atatürk Airport on one of the last days of March, 2017. The home base of Turkish Airlines before its move to the new airport last year, the monitor is dominated by the airline, which serves more cities than any other airline in the world—and thus connected Atatürk to some unusual destinations, such as the North African cities of Algiers and Constantine, Algeria and Misrata, (here shown with the alternative spelling "Misurata") in Libya. Turkish also has grown an impressive presence elsewhere in Africa: Libreville, Lagos, and Accra are all shown on the schedule.

As has been discussed in the previous posts from this month, there is a plethora of flights to eastern Europe and Russia, both by Turkish and by other airlines—here we see Minsk and Tblisi, but also Lvov at 15:00, which was operated by AtlasGlobal's subsidiary, Atlasjet Ukraine before the whole operation went bust as detailed in the previous post. Just after it in the same time slot, Air Moldova departs for the capital, Chisinau. Other airlines on the board include Egyptair to Cairo and Royal Jordanian to Amman, as well as Qatar Airways to Doha. Singapore Airlines' flight at 1:30pm to Singapore has been cancelled.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

AtlasGlobal Destinations, January 2018

A somewhat strange, translucent adverting stand placed in the lower level of the (now closed) Istanbul Ataturk Airport—one of those disappointing, low-ceilinged basements waiting rooms where travelers await the chaotic stampede of board-by-bus to the remote stand. 

As unappealing as the room is, it is not very much improved by plexiglass box obstructing the flow of passengers to the gate. But at least it is adorned with interesting stickers: Bishkek, Lviv, Kharkov, MakhachalaNizhnekamsk, Tbilisi, Zaporizhia—even an astute geography buff could be stumped. Turkish low-cost, leisure airline AtlasGlobal specialized in regional flights across the Black Sea and Caspian region.

This, it seems, would be the high-point of AtlasGlobal, which always sounded a bit more like an industrial conglomerate than an air carrier. The airline faltered in the year following this photo, temporarily halting all flights, only to attempt a limited relaunch in early 2020 which only lasted until February of this year.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Azerbaijan Airlines Timetable, 2016 (Post 2 of 2)

Continuing from the previous post, the second page of Azerbaijan Airlines's inflight magazine shows the airline's pair of domestic routes, from Baku to Ganja, (Gəncə in Azeri) the country's second largest cityin the northwest, and Nakhchivan in Autonomous exclave, separated from Azerbaijan proper by part of Armenia. The two secondary airports are connected to each other  as well, and there is a twice-weekly service to St. Petersburg. The only other service not asterisked as a non-codeshare flight is the twice-weekly Baku-Minsk service. Today, the airline still connects to both domestic cities to Baku's Heydar Aliyev International Airport. 

Azerbaijan Airlines Timetable, 2016 (Post 1 of 2)

Another page from the back of the Azerbaijan Airlines in-flight magazine, which publishes the state carrier's entire schedule—somewhat rare for an airline seat-back pocket. 

The schedule here shows a regular roster of flights to major European airports—once- or twice-weekly services to Barcelona, Berlin, Milan, and Prague, as well as more frequent flights to London (with one of the airline's widebody Dreamliners), Paris, as well as twice-weekly service to Tel Aviv and a flight to Dubai each morning. Elsewhere in Asia is the mid-night service to the Caspian oil town of Aktau, two hours away in Kazakhstan, via an Embraer E190, and the great eastern route: the thrice-weekly B787 Dreamliner service to Beijing. This is complimented by the airline's premier service, the Dreamliner's transatlantic long-haul to New York-JFK.  

Saturday, May 9, 2020

AZALJET Timetable, 2016

This may be one of the only timetables published of AZALJET, the low-cost leisure division of AZAL Azerbaijan Airlines, which was announced in February 2016 but folded in to the mainline operations barely a year later. 

AZALJET focused on two regions: The CIS region, especially Russia, including the critical trunk routes of Moscow (interestingly both Vnukovo and Domodedovo airports) and St. Petersburg, as well as Kiev and Lviv in Ukraine; Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, along with Mineralnye Vody, a city of 75,000 in Stavropol region of the Caucasus Mountains which is the last main town on the rail line between Russia and Baku, and makes its Timetablist debut here. 

The second set of routes connects to other regional cities including Tblisi, Georgia and Tabriz, the northwesternmost Iranian city that is almost more Azerbaijani than Persian. There are also a half-dozen Turkish cities, including the important routes to Ankara and Istanbul as well as Mediterranean leisure destinations such as Antalya, Bodrum, and Dalaman

The distinction between the main carrier and this low-cost unit was always quite blurred; there was hardly enough time to distinguish the two before AZALJet was closed down. This is reflected in the fleet listed in the right-most column: most flights are with A319s and A320s but there is the occasional B757 to Bodrum and Antalya, two flights per each weekday is operated with a B767, and even an A340 flies on one of the weekly rotations to Antalya until the end of August. 

Friday, May 8, 2020

AZAL Azerbaijan Airlines Network, mid-2016

Following on the previous post, by staying in the trans-Caspian region: here is the route map of another post-Soviet, Central Asian flag carrier, Azerbaijan Airlines, a rather convoluted web of polychrome routes, four different color markers for barely three dozen destinations including an array of code-shares.

Ignoring the third-party services, there are the main line routes themselves—labeled AZAL, the alternative acronym for the state airline—in a dark purple, an eclectic roster of cities across three continents, including, Barcelona, Berlin, Milan, Minsk and Prague in Europe to Dubai and Tel Aviv in southwestern Asia and distant Beijing in the east, shown in an inset at right. On the left, the pride of the operation, the non-stop Dreamliner flight from Baku to New York-JFK, which was almost axed last year.

In red are the leisure destinations of the short-lived AZALJET division, mostly to Aegean Turkey including Istanbul, Izmir, Bodrum, Dalaman, Antalya and Ankara, as well as Aktau, Kazakhstan, Tblisi, Tehran, Kazan, Lviv and Kiev. This unit only existed for barely a year, from March 2016 to 2017, before being folded back in to the central operations. 

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Air Astana: Nine Times Weekly from Dubai to Almaty, late 2019

A print advertisement for the Kazakhstani flag carrier, Air Astana, promoting the airline's ample schedule of services from Dubai to Almaty, the country's business hub and former political capital. The text also mentions 5 weekly flights from Dubai to Astana, the country's newer capital, built in the late 1990s and early 2000s in the central steppes of the vast Central Asian nation with landmarks by Norman Foster. More recently,  the capital was renamed Nur-Sultan in early 2019 in honor of the country's long-time dictator leader who retired—resulting in the curious circumstance that the state airline will continue to use the older name, which it had originally adopted to promote the new capital (itself named for the crown of a traditional Kazakh hurt) when it was built,  while the city itself is no longer called Astana. 

At the bottom of the paragraph of text, a few other destinations are listed to promote Air Astana as a regional connector: the regional capital Atyrau, as well as Shymkent, Tashkent, capital of neighboring Uzbekistan, Moscow, and Dushanbe, Tajikistan. 

The editorial board of the Timetablist has taken the situation under review, and in keeping with long-standing policy, is debuting the tag Nur-Sultan, while continuing to also use the separate tag Astana for ease of reference. New guidance is always issued at the Keywords Note, should there be any changes. 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Fly Somon Air, October 2016

Staying in the Central Asian region, and focusing on the here is a banner display stand for the privately-owned Tajikistani carrier, Somon Air—just the sort of unusual advertisement that can be encountered in Dubai as in few other places in the world. The colorful PVC print uses the classic sign-post image, pointing to Frankfurt, Istanbul, Moscow, as well as the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, just one of about ten Russian cities the airline serves. Dubai itself is mentioned, as well as the Kazakh business center of Almaty. Curiously, the Tajikistani capital, Dushanbe, is not listed—perhaps to de-emphasize the likely-inconvenient connections at the little airline's tiny, out-of-the-way hub. Somon Air's flagship wingleted B737-800 soars overhead. 

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Turkmenistan Airlines: Route Map, c.2016

This rather incredible specimen is featured on the non-official website of Turkmenistan Airlines—or at least one of the most prominent, as there is apparently more than one...which is in a way helpful, as the flag carrier of the Republic of Turkmenistan seems to lack an English language presence on the worldwide web

Despite this curious lack of official online connectivity, Turkmenistan Airlines does spread its gloriously evergreen-accented fleet across Asia and Europe, as seen here on this odd warp-grid projection which appears to converge at 0º Lattitude 0º Longitude, cut off at the bottom-left. 

Other than this Dr. Strangelove-sound-studio meets 2004 internet aesthetic, the route network itself is is also a bit skewed, with different cities in larger and smaller typeface at random, "Pekin" Minsk, Moscow and Frankfurt seem important, Amritsar, Donetsk, Istanbul and Lviv somehow less so. This usual airline shows up in a few unexpected places, especially its farthest western reach, "Birminghem," which does not see very much foreign metal, nor does it seem to possess a Central Asian community of any size, yet has apparently captured a segment of the Midlands-to-India market

These route maps appear to have preceded that episode, as there is some reporting that the network shifted more recently: Ankara and Kuala Lumpur were intermittently added  while London and the several Ukrainian cities have all been dropped, while the most recent development has been a new service to Jeddah utilizing the carrier's pride-of-fleet B777-200, but this has been delayed under the present circumstances.