Saturday, January 28, 2012

VARIG: Worldwide Network, c.1975

This undersized image file is a bit difficult to read, but is yet an informative mid-1970s route map of the Brazilian carrier VARIG. A conventional wall map overlaid with red route lines makes for an unoriginal and underwhelming document, but it even in its somewhat dull and diminutive format reveals some interesting information, especially the concentration of routes from Rio de Janeiro, whereas since this era the aviation action has decidedly shifted south to São Paulo.

Long trans-equatorial non stops to Miami and New York are juxtaposed with multistop zigzags such as Rio-Recife-Madrid-Rome-Tel Aviv or Rio-Recife-Paris-Frankfurt/London. The return journey from Iberia stops at Robertsfield, Monrovia-- the only African destination and location for a fatal 1967 VARIG crash on such a route. An Andean mini hub at Lima leads to jags up Mesoamerica, from Panama to Los Angeles.

There seem to be no routes out of Manaus or Brasilia, but this is a classic trap of cartography of this style, where it is hard to discern, especially from a distance, if a route is merely passing over a dot on a map, or pit stopping.

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