Thursday, April 30, 2020
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
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
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.
There was a rather severe hiccup when the airline was banned from European Union air space from February to late 2019, which left passengers suddenly stranded, met with an abundance of Turkic bureaucratic indifference with total institutional apathy to get customers home.
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.