Thursday, December 31, 2009

Delta: New Orleans-London; National: New Orleans-Amsterdam

New Orleans apparently had a big year in 1978, when the deregulation bonanza seems to have brought the Crescent City two European routes: Delta to London (Gatwick) and National's DC-10 Sunjet non-stop to Amsterdam (connecting the world's two lowest-lying airports. What fun). Its only conjecture to say that it would have been half European tourists and have Shell oil personnel on board. Timetablist is unable to confirm whether the Delta flight was non-stop;might easily have been through Atlanta. By the following year, National had a sizable trans-atlantic presence, and appeared to serve Paris from New Orleans as well.

New Orleans was a significant node in Pan Am's connection from the Central US to the Caribbean and Central America, but that's all gone now. For a time pre-Katrina, the all that was left was a weekly TACA connection to Honduras, the occasional charter to Cancun. Also, British Airways did for a time serve The Big Easy on its way to Mexico City. The author of the Louis Armstrong Airport Wikipedia article summarizes this history quite nicely.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

JAT Worldwide, 1970-85

JAT has always been a Timetablist favorite, if only for its dedicated attempt to access the Yugoslavian-American diaspora of the upper Midwest, where it was for a time the most exotic weekly visitor to Detroit and Cleveland Hopkins, and adding to Balkan flavor of Chicago O'Hare.

Here we find a bright blue map set, from sometime in the early 1980s or perhaps earlier, prior to its broadening of Great Lakes destinations. Its overall reach is quite impressive, a global arch with Beograd as its keystone, which turns at Shannon to stretch to Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto and New York.

Looking east, the red line bends across Europe to play the role of what has to be one of the more perculiar Kangaroo carriers, with an axis spanning Ankara- Tehran- Karachi -Bombay-Madras-Singapore and terminating at that great Yugoslav enclave of Sydney.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Swissair: Geneva-Monrovia, 1977 & 1986

Certifiable evidence that Swissair joined KLM, SAS, and Sabena in service of Monrovia Robertsfield. The first flight cover celebrates an inaugural Geneva-Abidjan-Monrovia service, launched in 1977 with a DC-10, and the second flight cover shows a new routing and aircraft, an A310 service via Dakar commencing in February 1986.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Olympic Airways: European Network, 2005-2006

A continuation of the previous post, with more details of the European network.

Olympic Airways, Worldwide Network, 2005-2006

Olympic Airlines, once the heirloom of the Onassis family and the great pride of Greece, is due to shut down on December 31, an ignominious end and long decline to one of aviation's once-great carriers. This route map, from barely 5 years ago, shows the global realm diminished but intact, a five-continent network, with A340s stretching to Canada, South Africa, and Australia. Olympic Airlines ended its life with a network limited only to Europe. What was once a span of North American destinations such as Chicago, New York, Toronto, Montreal and Boston, ended its history without a single transatlantic route, and the Greek flag carrier did not extend into Africa beyond Cairo, and did not last as a player on the Kangaroo Route.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

American Airlines to Europe, 1999

This advert, inside an American timetable, embodies just the sort of timid, dated aesthetic that gives American Airlines its insipid, apprehensive reputation. Aimed squarely at its American customers (for who beyond US shores refers to "England"), the map wilts the page with its drippy, watercolor motif, perhaps meant to suggest the museum-hopping of a European vacation. American could not compete in Stockholm, and has since left. Several years ago it did dawn on American's executives, along with the rest of the corporate suites of the US legacy carriers, that high-margin international passengers were being handed off to foreign carriers at major hubs, while they concentrated on regional jets to Des Moines. It also helps that Southwest hasn't gone international, yet. Hence, American tried Moscow and Delhi, United is off to Bahrain, Lagos, and Accra, and Delta is touching down in every city that any other carrier in the world flies to, from Malabo to Melbourne to Montevideo to Malaga. Whether this is a new era of American aviation, in which hyperglobalization shifts the giants from 737s to Las Vegas and into 787s to Lahore, with less Nashville and more Nairobi, remains to be seen. Its an open question if US Carriers can compete on comfort and service with the Europeans, much less the Asian spas-in-the-sky. Delta seems to have had success on its Africa network, which has cut travel times from the East Coast, bypassing a connection in Paris or Amsterdam.

USAirways to Europe, 2000

The Midwestern Metropolis has, as part of its rusting decline, suffered from retreat by both domestic and foreign carriers. Continental has tried to connect Cleveland to London and Paris without lasting success, and hasn't seen a foreign flight since JAT left twenty years ago. Even mighty Chicago O'Hare has in recent years seen the final departure of Pakistan, Kuwait, El Al, and Singapore, among others. Detroit has lost British Airways, and its fate and that of Cincinnati's many European departures rest in the hands of newly unified Delta, which will likely soon determine that it has too many upper-central hubs.
But these airports still have their feeder networks, and their main-line jets to both coasts. None has been so decimated as Pittsburgh, a massive airport which is now half-empty, its lengthly concourses truncated. This advert, from a USAirways sub-timetable for Boston Logan shows, just nine short years ago, Pittsburgh had daily widebody A330 and B767 departures to Frankfurt and Paris, and British Airways B747 service to London Gatwick. Today, Delta Air Lines is trying a narrowbody 757 to Paris, a major rebound that will hopefully last. USAirways itself serves more European cities than ever, nearly 20 from Philadelphia, and is banking, like the rest of America's legacy carriers, on its international network to make profits. It is in the works to serve Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Tokyo and perhaps Shanghai in the next few years. While it is true that international passengers provide wider margins, it remains to be seen just how many passengers show up for all these new flights.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Aer Lingus Worldwide 1999

Two route maps from the Spring and Autumn 1999 timetable of Aer Lingus, when it was fresh with new Airbuses and a new paint scheme, part of a new alliance, and building on its existing routes to serve a New Economy Celtic Tiger. The only major development in 1999 was the addition of Los Angeles, but this pair is included here for its interesting cartographics, with the subway-like route lines, color coded by Irish city.
Since then, Aer Lingus has been so crippled by low-cost competition that it has become the first flag carrier to adopt the full LCC model itself, leading to its exit from One World, and eventual part-ownership by it s rival, Rynaair. Aer Lingus has also retreated from Los Angeles, Newark, London City and Stansted and Ireland is mired in a painful recession.

Friday, December 25, 2009

KLM: Amsterdam-Detroit

Although today brings a global broadcasting of the air bridge between Amsterdam and Detroit, it is interesting to remember that Northwest's pioneering partnership with KLM brought the bright blue bellies of the Dutch 747s to Romulus some 18 years ago. KLM and Northwest switched duties often, bringing KLM MD-11s to Memphis and currently leaving DTW without any Netherlands-registered planes. Compare this envelope's Renaissance Center and People-Mover motif with Sabena's first day cover, a further 18 years earlier.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

JAL to America, Winter 2002

This second JAL page reveals more history of American Airlines than Japan Air Lines. This table shows American's erstwhile transpacific routes from San Jose and Seattle to Narita, as well as the ill-fated Osaka-Dallas/Fort Worth service. JAL is, sadly, planning to retreat from its Tokyo-Sao Paulo service in the future as it deals with its financial woes.

JAL to Hawaii, Winter 2002

This is the first true "timetable" posted on the Timetablist. This dense matrix is from the Japan Air Lines (JAL) booklet distributed for 1 Jan to 31 March 2002, and shows a squadron of widebodies, both JAL and JALways, from eight Japanese cities to Honolulu as well as a Narita-Kona service. JAL is probably the world's most suffering major carrier at present, which is something of a mystery, as it dominates the domestic and international networks of the world's second largest economy. The Japan-Hawaii timetable is quite thin today, with only three scheduled destinations: Nagoya, Kansai, and Narita, while JALways operates charters from some 17 cities. JAL is also withdrawing from other routes between now and 2012.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sabena: Brussels-Niamey, 1968

Sabena was very dedicated to Africa, as its successor, Brussels Airlines, is today. However, a few routes did not survive as long in Sabena's network, or were not carried on by Brussels Airlines. This route is one such example, to Niger on what appears to be a B727, which most surely would have made an intermediate stop somewhere in North Africa, such as Tunis. Air France is the only airline to connect Niger to Europe today.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Linhas Aereas de Moçambique: Maputo-Lisbon-Berlin

Linhas Aereas de Moçambique undertook a series of dedicated moves linking Maputo to Europe, particularly Lisbon, its metropole, but also Berlin, Paris, and reportedly Copenhagen. This first flight cover celebrates the carrier's Maputo-Lisbon-Berlin service in 1963, which was likely a political choice during Mozambique's socialist era, and there for most surely terminated at Schönefeld (which the DDR stamp confirms). Unfortunately, today no wide-body jets fly LAM's colors, and its network is limited to the immediate subregion.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

British Airways, the North American routes, Autumn 1999

The Trans-atlantic routes are the lifeblood of BA, but its interesting to note that a handful of these cities no longer see jets from London. These include Pittsburgh, which was once a major midwestern hub and is today eerily quiet, and Detroit, from which sadly BA recently withdrew as an unprofitable destination. More interesting are the sunbelt boomtowns, such as Charlotte, which is still connected to Europe by USAirways, as well as Phoenix and San Diego, which despite their growing size seem to lack the cosmopolitan need for a connection to Heathrow.

British Airways, Africa and Southwest Asia, Autumn 1999

Like every other carrier, British Airways has scrapped a handful of its African routes in the last decade. Here Abidjan, Durban, Harare, Lilongwe, and Windhoek are seen, which have since been dropped from the BA network. One destination missing from the map is Abuja.
Note also the Central Asian cities, Bishkek, Almaty, and Tashkent, and the curious location of Ashhgabat, incorrectly shown here south of Tehran. None of these routes lasted to the present. The Caucasian cities, Baku, Tblisi and Yerevan, are also no longer served; the post-Soviet exuberance was not enough to support British Airways's expansion into the CIS.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

American Airlines Hub Maps, 2002: Miami

If there is one region where American Airlines unquestionably dominates, it is Latin America. This bland 2002 map of American's Miami Complex shows a showering spray of routes, at lower left touching each vertebrae in the Andean spine, from the Yucatan to Tierra del Fuego, with neat vertical rows of Leeward and Windward destinations at right and lower center, with the remainder of South American supercities at bottom. A dotted line shows the codeshare with South African Airways from Miami to Cape Town and Jo'berg. London, Paris and Madrid are also served non-stop.

American Airlines Hub Maps, 2002: London

London has been American's pride of network since before it purchased TWA's Heathrow rights a decade before. This map is a bit deceptive, in that it shows a completely random spread of cities beyond Britain which have never been served by American, but seem to be OneWorld connections with British Airways or Gulf Air, from Teeside to Doha, Leeds to Muscat.

At the right are the US cities graced with a flagship nonstop, all of which enjoy the same privilege today, including Raleigh-Durham and the other complex hubs previously discussed. However, what is also deceiving about this graphic is that it does not specify which cities were crowned with Heathrow rights under Bermuda II rules and which had to shuffle into lowly Gatwick.

American Airlines Hub Maps, 2002: Boston Logan

Boston has never been a true hub for any airline, other than a feeder to a handful of European airlines or a catchment for high-value local passengers. American's array in 2002 included more code-shares than mainline services, mostly long-range transcontinental runs; connections to hubs; and its flagship transatlantic routes, often on glistening silver B777s. Links via other carriers to Canada, Down-east, the Islands are shown; all of this intersperses at right, with Bermuda, New York, Paris, London, Halifax and Burlington shown in counter-clockwise arrangement from 4 to 1 as being equidistant from Logan. Islip, Ottawa, Vancouver and Chicago are all arrayed from 11 to 8.

American Airlines Hub Maps, 2002: Dallas/Fort Worth

DFW: American's headquarters hub and its southern transcontinental supercomplex. An astounding number of domestic non-stops, from a long vertical row down the California coast to a matching column on the eastern seaboard, and an arch spanning the Pacific Northwest, Midwest and Canada. At bottom, a diagonal curve of Mexican cities is shown, with a more random array of subtropical cities below this, including Belize, Panama, Lima, Santiago, Caracas, and Sao Paulo. Both Osaka and Tokyo are connected directly at far left, with four European cities: London, Paris, Frankfurt, and Manchester served non-stop at upper right.

American Airlines Hub Maps, 2002: LAX

Los Angeles has never been a dedicated first-tier hub for American, but the airline continues to profit from wealthy origin-and-destination traffic to far corners of its network. Shown here is a short-lived LAX-Seoul service, the only Eagle-emblazoned trans-Pacific flight; other Asian cities are linked by other carriers, as are codeshare offerings to the South Pacific with Qantas. Silver jets spread their wings  on two direct flights to the Hawaiian Islands. A measure of Meso-american non-stops links Mexican leisure destinations and capital cities. The long-range flagship services link L.A. to London and Paris.

American Airlines Hub Maps, 2002: Chicago O'Hare

Chicago O'Hare serves both as American's upper midland superhub to ferry domestic passengers from one side of the continent to the other, as well as a premium business hub for origin-and-destination traffic: Tokyo is at upper-left; a vertical row of ten European non-stops are at upper-right. Honolulu is at far bottom left, a smattering of Mexican cities is served, but the farthest into the Caribbean basin is the non-stop to the San Juan complex: travelers to Latin America must connect through Dallas or Miami.

American Airlines Hub Maps, 2002

Continuing with yesterday's dull, monochrome presentations from a US carrier, here we have a surprisingly unique and interesting graphical explanation of American Airlines's massive system. Shown here are non-stops from its hubs (or connecting complexes, as it calls them here) and its focus cities, such as Boston, which features year-round service to Gatwick and CDG. Note the service to Stockholm, which didn't last. American has yet to direct away from its cubicle-farm aesthetic, yet it must be given small credit for spatial arrangement with which it articulates the network.

Following posts will focus on each sub-networks web of destinations.

Friday, December 18, 2009

United Air Lines: South America and Europe, 1999/2000

Two dull, monochrome, newspaper-thin, facsimile-bland maps showing United Airlines's destinations in Europe and South America during the 1999/2000 Winter season. Düsseldorf has since been dropped (its somewhat surprisingly how unsuccessful decentralization of US-German flights has been, see Lufthansa to Berlin, Delta to Stuttgart, and Emirates to Hamburg for other examples). Also United remains a presence to Brazil and Argentina, but has retreated from the Mesoamerican and Andean capitals shown here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Air Malta Network, 2002

Malta is a popular Mediterranean destination, especially now that it is a member of the European Union. Prior to its joining, this somewhat desaturated timetable insert shows Air Malta's network as bigger than today, with more North African and Near East destinations (only Tripoli is currently served), and extensions all the way from Stockholm in the north to Dubai in the east.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

KLM: Kano-Brazzaville

This fantastic slice of cartography, with its almost eerie, lunar atmosphere, is a page from an equally gorgeous route planner published by KLM around 1960. This page shows one segment of the airline's great Trans-Saharan route, which originates in Europe, clears the desert at Kano, and plunges into equatorial Africa, stopping at Brazzaville (where KLM is absent today). The route describes the final leg as terminating in Johannesburg. This is virtually the only African route, long before KLM's broad expansion to everywhere from Kilimanjaro to Conakry.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pan Am: The African Routes, 1971

Just ten years later, at the morning of the Jet Age, this frontispiece from Pan American's New Horizon World Guide shows its network of Clippers stretching across North, West, East, Central, and Southern Africa.

Pan Am: The African Route, 1960

This is from Pan American's New Horizons World Guide from 1960, showing its single African route: Dakar-Monrovia-Accra-Leopoldville-Johannesburg. Passengers to and from Dakar connect to either Lisbon and Europe or Pan American's home base at Idlewild.

Monday, December 14, 2009

BOAC: East Africa & The Horn

Another spread from the BOAC's 1960 atlas, this one showing the connections south of Cairo, namely Khartoum, Entebbe, Nairobi, and, interestingly, an offshoot to Asmara ending at Aden, but not the larger Addis Ababa. Southward routes continue to Salisbury (Harare) and Johannesburg.

BOAC: West Africa Routes, c.1960

Like earlier posts, this page from BOAC's substantial 1960 route map and guide shows the former importance of Kano, Nigeria. British Airways does not serve Kano any more; its second destination in Nigeria is today the capital, Abuja.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Delta Air Lines: The African Routes, January 2009

Delta Air Lines has, in the last few years, become hugely committed to Africa, as evidenced by this stylish route map page from their January 2009 in-flight magazine. What makes this particularly interesting is that several of the routes shown here have yet to launch, and may never be realized. Of the new destinations shown here, only Abuja has been successfully added, and Cape Town's days of seeing US-registered craft ended this summer. Delta recently issued a press release, stating their recommitment to several of these routes, such as Malabo and Monrovia, in Summer 2010. We shall see.

Delta also serves the Mid-East market thoroughly, with transatlantic services to Amman, Cairo, Dubai, Kuwait, and Tel Aviv.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Air France: Africa c. 1960

It looks as though Air France had even more routes and destinations in Africa than it does now-especially connections between the Francophone capitals. This route map is a bit difficult to decipher, with all the different colored points and lines not clearly explained. But it does appear, for instance, that Robertsfield at Monrovia, Liberia, was fully-served at the time, as was Nairobi on the way to Madagascar. Nouakchott is one of the few cities not shown here where Air France lands today.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sabena: Brussels-Detroit

What surprise to find that Sabena reached the motor city in April 1980? Perhaps this was simply an extension of Toronto or Chicago routes; the service does not seem to have lasted long. In one of the most drastic alterations to the transatlantic scope of services, no Belgian-flagged carrier serves North America today, a big shift from pre-2001, when Sabena landed daily in a number of cities, including Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, and Cincinnati (the latter two a result of the link-up with Delta Air Lines). VG Airways was short-lived, and Brussels Airlines concentrates on Europe and Africa. Delta, American, United, Continental and USAirways are the only choices for US-Brussels routes. The custom envelope is lovely, with the Renaissance Center towers merging with the church steeple.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sabena: Brussels-Niamey-Leopoldville-Elisabethville

A gem of a relic, from 23 November 1935, features a detailed route map showing Sabena extending its reach into deepest Congo. The routing shows Brussels-Marsaille-Oran-Niamey-Fort Lamy (now N'Djamena, Chad)-Libenge (?)-Leopoldville (Kinshasa) and ending in Elisabethville, now Lubumbashi, in DR Congo's copperbelt region. No European carriers reach this city today. Note the gorgeous stamp, with a tiny motorcraft banking over the Palais de Justice in Brussels, an edifice built with the spoils of the Belgian Congo. Libenge, a small outpost on the Ubangi River, has no international service today, and is not listed on any Congo carriers' destination lists, such as Hewa Bora Airways.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Air India: Bombay-Accra

Air India once served more than 10 African cities, as this fantastic first-day cover from December 1976 attests. The continent of Africa has a large population of Indians, who are noticeable as the merchant class everywhere from Monrovia to Mombasa, Kampala to Cape Town. As late as mid-2003, Air India maintained a Mumbai-Nairobi-Accra route. However, the flag carrier is currently thin on African routes; sadly, its last African destination, mighty Nairobi, will end on 20 January 2010. While Kenya Airways serves Mumbai, a good share of Africa-India traffic is probably routed through Dubai nowadays.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

KLM: Amsterdam-Conakry

Two separate first-day covers celebrating KLM's inaugural Amsterdam-Conakry, Guinea service. Different designs on the envelope, but both have the same stamp from the company, which reads that the route was via Casablanca and Las Palmas (Canary Islands), and appears to be utilizing something like a DC-6. Date of the flight: 5/11/1960, which if read the European way would suggest early November.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Swissair: Zürich-Douala, November 1976

Douala, commercial capital of Cameroon, is one Swissair destination that Swiss International Air Lines still serves from Zürich. Graceful grassland gazelles in a monochrome brown print mark the occasion.

KLM: Amsterdam-Kabul

Definitely unusual: May of 1955, and KLM celebrates their arrival in Kabul, Afghanistan. No routing is identified, but most likely the Kabul stop was part of a larger reach from Amsterdam to Batavia, now Jakarta, Indonesia.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

KLM: Amsterdam-Orlando

KLM had served a variety of US cities over the years, especially in cooperation with Northwest Airlines (Memphis, Minneapolis). Despite the theatrics of Shamu and company, this 1988 launch to Disney World might have been short-lived, as KLM is no longer a scheduled arrival at Orlando. During this period, it was possible to fly off to Europe, Japan and Brazil on flag carriers, giving central Florida a cosmopolitan air. Currently, the Amsterdam-Orlando route is served by KLM's sister carrier, holiday-focused Martinair.

KLM: Amsterdam-Houston

What might be surprising about this cover is not that these two petrocapitals were connected, but that it began way back in 1957. One might have guessed that European airlines did not arrive in Texas until the 1970s oil boom at the earliest. Undoubtedly, this routing was via Newfoundland and the east coast.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

KLM: Zurich-Kano

This attractive first day cover is another example of KLM's long-standing commitment to Africa. KLM still serves Kano, long after many other international carriers have switched to Abuja or dropped Nigeria service altogether. Similar to SAS's service to Monrovia, KLM seems to have used Zurich as a more southernly origin point for its sub-Saharan service; possibly this was due to aircraft range issues? The four-engined jet rising across the envelope might have not operated optimally in the desert heat, warranting a shorter distance.

Friday, December 4, 2009

KLM: Amsterdam-Monrovia

Another handsome KLM first-day flight cover, celebrating what appears to be the extension of the Amsterdam-Conakry service to Monrovia (Robertsfield).

Thursday, December 3, 2009

KLM: Amsterdam-Lagos

Another colorful first-day cover from KLM, this one showing the tailfin logo of the time. Date reads 17 January 1961, no route information-- perhaps it could be non-stop?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

KLM: Amsterdam-Harare

Even British Airways can't keep its Harare service nowadays, but once it was part of KLM's extensive African network.