Monday, January 4, 2021

Malev: Budapest-Wien-München, Budapest-Zürich, c.1964


Starting off the Timetablist's twelfth year where we left off in December: in Europe of the mid-20th century, here moving a bit further east at one of a series gorgeous illustrated postcards from Malév Hungarian Airlines, which recall similar articles that have been posted here in the past

Like several eastern-European airlines, Malév flew over the iron curtain to link to its regional neighbors; here shown are two routes which run to nearby Vienna; one which continues on to Munich. The other alternatively turns around in a triangle formation at Zürich, which appears to rotate via Konstanz or possibly Friedrichshafen. Only the main airports: Ferihegy (Budapest), Schwechat (Vienna), the old Riem (of Munich, closed in 1992), and Kloten (Zürich) are demarcated by yellow airfield logographs. 

Despite the other delightful pictograms of the image, showing the cathedrals, castles and other landmarks of several of the cities, as a cartographic conveyance of information, the postcard fails to make clear just which cities are served on each route and which are passed over. It appears that between Budapest and Vienna there is a turn at Győr; after Vienna, the Munich route seems to stopover in Linz. Intriguingly, it seems as though the Zürich route, although avoiding Vienna, still lands in Österreich, as it splits westward at the small city of Brück an der Leitha across the Austrian border (of course making its Timetablist debut here). The flight path then makes a gentle turn at Salzburg, which is denoted by a coin-like cartouche of Mozart himself. 

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Sabena: New York to Brussels to Paris via Hélicoptère, c.1957


A lesser-remembered chapter of the old Belgian flag-carrier Sabena is the airline's experiment with helicopter services. The handsome poster above is surely from the late 1950s, showing the DC-7 which arrived in 1957 to serve the airline's long-haul routes but was supplanted only three years later in 1960 by the Boeing B707. 

Details of Sabena's unique rotor-craft network is reprinted from the Sabena website


SABENA operated helicopter services from 21 August 1950 when it used Bell 47D aircraft on an experimental postal service between Brussels and extending domestically to cities like Antwerp, Liege and Turnhout. It was begun in co-operation with the Belgian Post Office.

The Bell 47s were replaced with the larger Sikorsky S.55 allowing the service to extend to internationally to Maastricht. This was the world's first international helicopter service.

SABENA intended using helicopters on an international rotary-wing passenger service as a feeder service for it's fixed-wing international/European services. This was started on 1 September 1953 using the Sikorsky S.55 aircraft, which could carry eight passengers.

SABENA flew international services with Sikorsky S.55 SABENA began international passenger services with the Sikorsky S.55

By October 1956 the service had new helicopters, the twelve-seat Sikorsky S.58 and SABENA's fleet of eight S.58 helicopters inauguated the service to Paris in 1957!

Sikorsky S.58 SABENA improved the helicopter services with eight Sikorsky S.58s

By 1960 this international passenger helicopter service from Brussels flew to Rotterdam, Antwerp, Lille, Eindhoven, Maastricht, Liege, Paris, Dortmund, Duisburg, Cologne and Bonn. It served Holland, France, Germany and Luxembourg internationally.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Sabena: Mexico City, Montreal, and New York aboard Caravelle Jets, c.1960s

 Flying to Mexico City in another era: here's an old Newspaper advertisement in a shipping circular, in which the Belgian airline Sabena boasts of "the best trips with the Latest Jets, Excellent Service, Luxury & Comfort To Europe" on board both Caravelle Jets and Boeing Jets, with the porpoise-nosed Caravelle shown. The three North American destinations shown: Montreal, New York, and Mexico City, correspond to this artifact posted several years ago, showing the airline's route system from Europe to Africa, the Near East in North America. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Aeromexico: The Monterrey Hub, December 2015

A third map from Aeromexico's inflight magazine, focusing on the airline's secondary hub at the northern economic powerhouse of Monterrey, just south of the Texas border. Long a manufacturing hub, Monterrey has boomed in the NAFTA era with its convenient position to the United States. Aeromexico's operations reflect that, with two routes over the Rio Grande to San Antonio and Houston, and longer connections to Atlanta, Miami, and New York, as well as Detroit—an automaker's route. Las Vegas and Los Angeles are the only other transborder flights, other than the long route to Tokyo, which as discussed in the previous post was discontinued. 

The internal flights are clustered together on this cartographic projection, with Chihuahua almost as far away as Atlanta and Tijuana just in front of "Tokio." A number of other Mexican cities make their Timetablist debut with this post, including Tampico, Culiac, Puerto Vallarta, and Aguascalientes. Many of these services have been cut back as Mexico's many low-cost carriers, particularly Ryanair's Mexican venture VivaAerobus and Volaris have come to dominate the domestic airspace. Volaris now carries the largest share of domestic passengers in the country. 

Monday, December 7, 2020

Aeromexico: The North American Routes, December 2015

 Continuing from the previous post, a second map from Aeromexico's in-flight magazine at the end of 2015, showing the airline's array of flights from seven cities to its NAFTA partners

Although Aeromexico serves 18 cities in los Estados Unidos, this is perhaps fewer than might be guessed; it is fewer U.S. airports than British Airways to London, for instance. Most flights originate in Mexico City, with a handful fanning out from the northern economic powerhouse of Monterrey—which will be the subject of the subsequent post. There are a few flights out of the country's second largest city: Guadalajara, but surprising only one flight from Cancún, Mexico's second busiest airport, to New York; today the route is flown only by Delta and American Airlines. While Avianca and COPA fly to several Florida cities such as Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa, Aeromexico only served Orlando and Miami, and the Merida flight has been discontinued. The flight to Denver is now year-round. The flight from Morelia, in Michoacán, to Chicago-O'Hare is still flying seasonally. The Boston flight, which commenced in June of that year, has sadly since been discontinued.

There is a more significant cluster of flights up to (Alto) California, including to less commonly-served airports such as Sacramento, Ontario, and Fresno—which are all premiering on The Timetablist with this post. The Guadalajara—Fresno link is especially notable as the San Joaquin Valley metro has no direct flights to domestic cities such as New York, Washington, or Houston.  Los Angeles has links to four cities. 

The three largest airports of Canada are connected to Benito Juarez; the flight to Vancouver has been an apparent success. 

Friday, December 4, 2020

Aeromexico: The Intercontinental Routes, December 2015

 Somehow in the storied history of The Timetableist, now approaching its 11th anniversary, the great air carrier of the Federal Republic of Mexico has never been previously featured. Continuing from the previous post, it's opportune to take the fiesta stop-over in México D.F. and look at the country's remaining flag carrier as it looked in its expansionist phase of half a decade ago.

Aeromexico runs a three-continent strategy, covering the main gateways of the Americas, switching through its central Benito Juarez hub, while stretching its reach across the oceans with what is now an all-Dreamliner fleet. Of particular interest is the triplet of Trans-Pacific efforts: Mexico CityTokyo (Narita), Monterrey—Narita, and Mexico City—TijuanaShanghai—Mexico City, which neatly landed Benito Juarez at exactly the same time as it took off from Pudong International. 

According to the always reliable Wikipedia, the Monterrey—Japan service was a temporary technical stop on the way from Mexico City in lieu of Tijuana. Service today is non-stop from Mexico City only. 

In early 2017, the carrier announced a second attempt to link the northern economic powerhouse of Nuevo León with Asia: a four times weekly Mexico City—Monterrey—Incheon schedule which, like the Tokyo service, would return eastbound non-stop. Apparently this proved unnecessary, as Aeromexico still served ICN as of early 2020 but only non-stop from Mexico City. 

While this peninsular service seems to have met with success—presumably due to links with SkyTeam megacarrier Korean Air—the non-stop to Shanghai and SkyTeam partner China Eastern proved less durable, as the thrice-weekly long haul was cut in mid-2019.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Qantas: FFC Sydney to London via Mexico, 28 November 1964

 Having concluded November with an Olympic Kangaroo Stretch from Athens to Australia, we continue in December to span the globe with an Antipodean effort: the incredibly unique Qantas round-the-world Sydney to London service via Mexico Citycommonly called the"Fiesta Route."

The Timetablist has actually featured a  March 1973 version of this highly unusual routing before, with its stops in "Fiji" and "Tahiti" (which we here track as Nadi and Papeete, respectively), then S-curving through Mesoamerica (the 1970s version first landed on the black sand beaches of Acapulco) before two Anglo-Caribbean hops at Nassau and then Bermuda. At the time, B707s plied the cross-Ocean service; the route was apparently a victim of the 1970s oil crisis, and the arrival of the B747 made the traditional Trans-Asian spine more logical. 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

First Flight Cover: Inaugural Olympic Airways Kangaroo Route, March 1972

 The Timetablist periodically features rare examples of the famous Europe-to-Australia "Kangaroo Route" from decades in the past, and as this month comes to a close it is noted that we nearly passed out of the Eastern Mediterranean region, which has been the focus of this November, and indeed through Athens itself without featuring this article: a First Flight Cover Envelope commemorating the inauguration of Olympic Airways's AthensBangkokSingaporeSydney trans-equatorial trunk route, which launched on 3 March, 1972.  

The envelope features a vaguely Oriental motif of an orange-red Rising Sun as backdrop to an ensemble of caricatures: a stepped pagoda-temple roof, under which the head of a stereotypically East Asian peasant squints underneath an iconic conical hat, overload with some sort of bamboo staff, which is joined by a sharp-jointed Kangaroo, erect but indifferent, facing away from the viewer. At the upper right, a B720-style quadjet whisks toward the cancelation step, a specialized imprint which repeats the itinerary in English and Greek, angle-impressed upon a Hellenic stamp which features the Terrace of Lions at Delos. 

Olympic would keep its Antipodean link almost up until its demise, serving both the sizable Greek-Aussie community in Melbourne and Sydney as well as a cheap backpacker's shuttle to bumming around Southeast Asia. Although there are no longer any Greek trans-hemispheric airlines today, there is still a popular Athens-to-Singapore discount route, as discussed earlier this month

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Air Liban to Europe and Africa, c.1952

 Prior to becoming Middle East Airlines, the flag carrier of Lebanon was known as Air Liban. Formed in 1945, it quickly expanded across Southwest Asia, Europe and into Africa as reflected in the destination list on this vintage brochure: Near East destinations include Aleppo and Baghdad, and fourth city is listed Jerusalem—a somewhat remarkable historical phenomenon, although this likely references the old Atarot Airport, at the time located in the Jordanian-annexed West Bank. Regardless, "Jerusalem" makes its Timetablist debut here. 

Further into the Gulf extends a spine of JeddahDhahranDohaKuwait; it is important to realize that, long before the rise of thee Gulf super-carriers, MEA/Air Liban was the primary airline of the Arab World, as its expansive name implies. 

Looking Westward, Air Liban ran its "swift Super DC-6C planes" to Nicosia, Ankara, Istanbul and to its only Western European capital, Paris, while send a second route to Cairo and Tripoli, with its most southernly service across the Red Sea to Khartoum, then spanning the vast Sahara to reach Kano, Lagos, Accra, Abidjan, and finally terminating at Dakar. This unusual number of West African destinations linked the Syrian-Lebanese commercial diaspora of coastal urban West Africa to their homeland. 

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Athens Airport Departure Board, 19 August 2017 (2)

Continuing from the previous post, the departures leading to the noon hour shown on a second screen at Athens International Airport on 19 August 2017. Since the demise of Olympic Airways as a six-continent carrier, the number of intercontinental flights out of Athens is not what it once was, but here we see several of the current long-hauls, with two flights at 11:30 to Asia, low-cost Dreamliner operation Scoot to Singapore, and Air China's triangular routing to Beijing via Munich

In the other direction, a quarter hour later American's summer non-stop to Philadelphia is already preparing for boarding, while Air Canada leaves for Montreal at noon, a seasonal, tri-weekly flight filled by the many Greek-Canadians who come back to their ancestral homeland. The only other true flag carrier on the board is Middle East Airlines 11:15 hop to Beirut

Other than European budget operations like Germania, the time block contains the usual smattering of domestic island services on Aegean—almost all operated by Dash-8 props of its subsidiary Olympic, as noted by the "A3 7" flight numbers—to Alexandropolis, Paros, Santorini, and Leros. Smaller domestic enterprises Sky Express to Chios and Astra to Mitlini (Mytlene) on Lesbos. 


Thursday, November 12, 2020

Athens Departure Board, 19 August 2017 (1)

 Two hours of mid-morning departures at Athens during what is by far the busiest time of year: the mid-August tourist rush. This block of flights are split between European connections: Geneva on Swiss, Istanbul on Turkish, Schönefeld and Orly on Easyjet—with a contingent of the airport's constant bank of domestic flights. 

The storied Olympic name is still in use—a brand bought out of bankruptcy and now operating as only a prop-plane domestic carrier—with flights to Heraklion, Santorini, Kalamata in southwestern Peleponnese, and a squadron of Cycladic flights all departing at 10:40 to spread to Naxos, Paros, Mykonos and the Ionian isle of Zakynthos

Olympic is not alone in the Greek domestic airspace: smaller private upstart Ellinair links to the northern secondary city of Thessaloniki, where is has its home base. Romanian low-cost airline Blue Air flies to the world's only other Greek-speaking state, Cyprus, and its main airport at Larnaca. There is a second flight to Larnaca at 10:35, showing a codeshare with Air Canada. This is on Aegean, which is today the de facto Greek flag carrier and parent company to Olympic. The extent of Aegean's pan-European reach is indicated by the less-common destinations on the board: Dubrovnik and Lisbon

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Air Malta Network, Summer 2011


Malta has long acted as a crossroads of the Mediterranean: stage of empires, prophets, and crusades. Today it is a densely-populated, package-tour destination, home to a sizable contingent of Ryanair retirees, and more recently has earned a (dis)reputation as a corrupt tax haven

All these priorities are reflected in the reach of its long-operating flag carrier, Air Malta. There are numerous links in the eastern Mediterranean: Athens, Istanbul, and Larnaca, and eight airports in Italy, including several that don't see many foreign carriers, like Verona, or the cities on the nearby boot and isle of Sicily: Catania and Reggio Calabria—here making its Timetablist debut.

Likewise, there is an abundance of service to the UK and Germany, true to the island's nature as a holiday-break hub. Secondary cities such as Aberdeen, Leeds, and East Midlands in Britain and Bremen, Dresden, Hamburg, Hanover and Stuttgart in Germany. 

Curiously, the map also has small insets at left, with the central portion of the United States East Coast above, and the Gulf below. The former is marked with two destination dots: "Newark" and "Manhattan" while Abu Dhabi is denoted on the latter. However, Air Malta has never had either wide-body, long-haul aircraft nor has it ever served any long-haul destinations, not to the Middle East and certainly not transatlantically. These are surely some sort of code-share designation, but that is not explained; furthermore, unless Air Malta has a partnership with a Helicopter service, in no way does it actually serve Manhattan any more than any other airline, codeshare or not. 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Libyan Arab Airlines Network, 1977

Following on from the previous post, here is a newspaper advertisement for Libyan Arab Airlines from a few years later, which centers around substantially the same route map from 1974, but without the excursion across the Sahara (no Khartoum, Agadez, nor Niamey), with only the addition of FrankfurtDamascus and Jeddah in the intermittent years, and with Geneva substituted by Zürich.

The map is also, except for Sebha, absent the extensive domestic network—perhaps not provided for this circumstance, which appears to be aimed at the business traveler to the "Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" —"*Libya1 flies the best reasons," it declares, boasting of its 40x weekly Tripoli-Benghazi shuttle service, its "whisper" quiet B-727-200s, and its growth rate. The copy concludes with the emphatic: "We are Libya 1." which isn't precisely grammatically correct. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Libyan Arab Airlines: Route Networks and Timetable, 1974


A few pages from a timetable brochure for Libyan Arab Airlines, the flag carrier of the then-5 year old Jamahiriya.

The route map shows a barbell-style network, centered around the primary cities of Tripoli and Benghazi—Libya's second city on the Mediterranean coast acting as an eastern gateway to Athens, Beirut, and Cairo, with the latter taking  southward turn to continue to Khartoum

From the capital, a single dotted line indicates trans-Saharan route links the midland settlement of Sebha before crossing into Niger, linking Agadez and ending at Niamey. A handsome Boeing 727-200 angles across the Algeria-Mali border. 

The second, smaller map covers the same Mediterranean region but shows only the domestic system, an extensive operation from the main cities to ten regional towns, including Misrata, Tobruk, and several, such as Ghadames, Ghat, and Marsa Al Brega, debuting on the Timetablist with this post. 

Inside the brochure, a traditional grid timetable displays the weekly schedules, including the equipment used: even in this period Libyan Arab Airlines used nearly an all-jet fleet of Boeing B720Bs, B727s, Douglas DC-9s, and Sud-Aviation Caravelles

Monday, November 2, 2020

ALIA: The Royal Jordanian Airline Network, 1984-85

A loose cartography to show the route system of Alia: The Royal Jordanian Airline in the mid-1980s, when the carrier had ambitiously reached four continents, but had not yet been rebranded as simply "Royal Jordanian' —the Alia was the name of the King Hussein's daughter, the Princess, a very curious nomenclature for a commercial carrier. 

The map spreads out the many European destinations served from Amman, as many as 15 apparently, including the somewhat unusual cities such as Belgrade and Bucharest; although these lesser cities likely saw the B707 and B727, at the time, the L-1011 was becoming the workhorse of the fleet

Most notably, Alia carried the crown of Hashemite throne to distant Chicago and distant Los Angeles, via Vienna, as well as New York via Amsterdam, possibly utilizing the airline's B747-200s, of which there were as many as three during the 1980s. Today the successor carrier still serves O'Hare, non-stop with debasing graphite-grey B787 Dreamliners.

Alia offered a comprehensive schedule across its immediate region, from Tripoli and Tunis in North Africa to Beirut and Damascus in the Levant to the many capitals of the Gulf—note that the map once again takes its liberties, showing the Doha-Muscat link leaping to the left, making room for the Dubai-Karachi connection below. The two east Asian services, nonstops to Bangkok and Singapore, are set apart. Looking closely, the airline's sole domestic destination, Aqaba, is shown directly below the hub.

Gulf Air Network, c.1975


The wingspan of the Golden Falcon of Gulf Air reached broadly across the Eurasian continent in the mid-1970s, emblazoned on the tail of the consortium airline's new quad-jet VC-10s as they roared across the skies from Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Doha to London Heathrow in the west and from Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Muscat to Bombay and Karachi in the east. 

The duality of this network map is not fully explained, as an abundance of other regional cities, from Salalah to Shiraz, Beirut to Bandar Abbas to Baghdad, Amsterdam to Athens to Amman, are shown with dotted lines and smaller outline labels. These are presumably secondary routes, served by the airline's F-27 Friendships and BAC 1-11s, first purchased in 1970, although presumably the larger planes flew the routes from the home bases to Paris and onward to Amsterdam—such non-stop service was made possible by the imminent arrival of the airline's new flagship L-1011 aircraft. It's not specified what airport is referenced by "Cyprus" but presumably this is Larnaca

To the right, the map is repeated in Arabic, although the secondary lines are not dotted, making the Middle East—Paris—Amsterdam route clearer, and curiously Cyprus is excluded altogether from that corresponding map.

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. 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

British Caledonian Schedule, 1977

A few pages from the timetable of British Caledonian Airways in 1977, demonstrating the breadth of its reach at the height of its operations, reaching on its own metal to Banjul while codesharing extensively with Air Afrique, Air France, and UTA Overseas French Airlines to Abidjan, Abu Dhabi, Bangui, and Baghdad with other connections to Bangkok and Bahrain on other carriers such as Singapore, KLM, Qantas, Gulf Air, and Thai Airways. The flight to Barbados is a rare bit of history: IQ2/IQ4 was a Martinair Holland DC-10 flying for the old Caribbean Airlines
Interspersed vintage black-and-white sketches give a flavor of the High Classic Jet Age, while an in-page advert feature's the airlines cargo operations. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Arrivals at Tirana Mother Teresa Airport, August 2017

All's rather quiet at the main international airport in Albania, Mother Teresa in Tirana, the capital. The mid-afternoon bank of flights is a mix of scheduled flag carriers such as Austrian from Vienna, Air Serbia from Belgrade, and ČSA Czech from Prague, and a smattering of charters from Prague, Venice and Bratislava.