Monday, November 30, 2009

Lufthansa: Frankfurt-Entebbe-Dar Es Salaam

. Interesting to compare this 1966 cover to the 1968 Entebbe-Munich envelope. Its pretty incredible to think that so many passengers were traveling from Germany to East Africa that they could choose from both Frankfurt or Munich. Unfortunately, this era didn't last, as Lufthansa doesn't even serve Nairobi with passenger flights today.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lufthansa: Nairobi-Harare

A classic first-day cover for Lufthansa, showing a B707 service between Salisbury (Harare) and Frankfurt on 4 May, 1981.
An older first-day cover from 1962, detailing the route from Frankfurt to Nairobi via Athens and Khartoum, and onward to Johannesburg.
A typically-detailed Lufthansa first day cover, showing inaugural A300 service between Nairobi and Harare in 1989. Neither city is currently served by Lufthansa. Its not clear if this celebrates an extension of a service from Frankfurt, and whether passengers could purchase just the NBO-Harare leg.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Kenya Airways: The African Network, mid-2009

Kenya Airways has positioned itself as the pan-African carrier, with a brand-new fleet connecting West, Central, and Southern Africa from its stronghold in East Africa, based in Nairobi. By 2008, the airline maintained several European routes, as well as connections to Dubai, Mumbai, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Guangzhou, showing the importance of China's connection to Africa. Kenya continues to fill in its African system, recently adding Libreville, Brazzaville, and Antananarivo.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Iberia Airlines Worldwide, 1988

This fanciful advert, utilizing Iberia's orange-yellow scheme to entice tourists to its sunny destinations, which at the time appeared to include Malabo, Abidjan, Nouakchott, Lagos, Dakar, and Cairo. Unfortunately, the Nouakchott and Abidjan routes did not last, and neither did the Canadian connections, somewhat surprisingly.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Aerolot: The European Destinations, 2005/06

Aeroflot remained much stronger on the European continent, with a number of Eastern European destinations that reflect Moscow's former stature. The map also shows a number of domestic destinations in European Russia.

Aeroflot Worldwide 2005-6

This, when juxtaposed with yesterday's posts, shows the incredible erosion of Aeroflot's once-vast global network. Only Luanda remains among its formerly plentiful African stations. South America has no service, and gone are Mexico City, Seattle, San Francisco, and Miami.

Elsewhere, the airline's reach is equally deteriorated: yesterday's Singapore, Shenyang, Harbin, Karachi, Calcutta, Kuala Lumpur and Colombo and the Kazakh capital are gone.

The next post will show what's left of Aeroflot's European operations.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Aeroflot Worldwide Destinations, 1999: East

The Asia-Pacific destinations of Aeroflot in 1999, which were a great array, from Shenyang and Seoul to Singapore to Sharjah. Note that Bombay is Mumbai but Calcutta's name has not changed. The great many Siberian cities are not listed here, and the lack of route lines on the map leave the viewer to guess which of these many Russian cities had international services.

Aeroflot Worldwide Destinations, 1999

The left-hand page of an Aeroflot timetable from the centerpiece of a 1999 timetable shows the state carrier in a transitional stage from its Soviet postings. Pre-oligarch Aeroflot?

A number of cities are still shown, where Aeroflot is today absent, including such African destinations as Accra, Conakry, Cotonou, Nairobi and Dakar, where today only Luanda remains on Aeroflot's African schedule.

Also here then and gone now are Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, and Miami; its somewhat incredible to believe that so many US Cities were ever connected to Moscow, especially in its pre-BRIC state. Also in the Americas, Lima, Mexico City and Sao Paulo are no more; only Havana still sees planes from Sheremetyevo.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pan Am: New York-Monrovia (Cargo)

While this site is mainly concerned with passenger service, a higher priority is service to Monrovia. This envelope follows the format of Pan Am's other first day covers, with the outline map in the lower-left corner, showing a jet connecting New York and Monrovia on April 30, 1963.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pan Am: New York-Monrovia

A set of Liberian stamps celebrating service between Monrovia-Robertsfield and New York's Idlewilde Airport. Not entirely sure if this is a "first day cover" of the service; the image is small and difficult to read, but its at least visible as a Pan Am clipper. The service would run along various routes until about 1986, with Pan Am withdrew from Africa entirely.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pan Am: New York-Conakry

A nice pair, one first-day cover from the US, showing Pan American's map emblem on the envelope, which seemed to be a recurring first-day cover theme. The other is a handsome pair of Guinean Stamps, with a beautiful, colorful illustration of Pan Am's DC-6 gracefully hugging the African coast on 30 July 1963. The Pan Am cover helpfully points out that the service was routed via Lisbon, as the majority of Pan Am's African routes were prior to the jet age.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pan Am: New York-Entebbe

Could it be that Pan Am's flights from New York to Entebbe were really "direct", as in non-stop? It doesn't seem likely, as even as late as the 1980s, when Pan Am had all jet-service around the world, its African flights stopped in Dakar and Monrovia first. However, if the graphic emblem is to be believed, the 1966 service did utilize a B707.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Time Magazine: New Routes, April 2007

World aviation was burgeoning so quickly, and reflecting globalization's new realities, that Time Magazine featured a few in April 2007. Two are for Emirates: to Houston and Sao Paulo, one was Austrian's service to Erbil, one was from Greenland to Baltimore, and finally Iran Air from Tehran to Caracas.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Swissair: Geneva-Dakar-Bamako (with Sabena)

A much more recent first-day cover than most of the rest of the collection, this 1996 first-day cover from Swissair's launch, in cooperation with Sabena, of Geneva-Dakar-Bamako service. The route didn't last long, as both airlines ignominiously shut down in 2001, and Swiss International Air Lines has not returned to Dakar (although Brussels Airlines continues to serve Senegal from Belgium).

Monday, November 16, 2009

Syrianair Network c. 2005-6: Detail of Mediterranean, Mid-East and Gulf Destinations

The jagged lines of Syrianair's network ricochet across its home region, especially the Gulf, North Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans.

SAS: Copenhagen/Stockolm-Zurich-Monrovia

This is a fascinating group of first-day covers, celebrating the launch of DC-8 service to Monrovia by Scandinavian Air Service in 1960. The route seemed to assemble passengers from SAS's Nordic hubs at Zurich, and from there fly to Liberia-- one envelope declares the service to be "direct" so perhaps this leg was non-stop. SAS today has no African routes.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Northwest, the Polar Routes, c. 1954

Polar Projected Maps are somehow alluringly dynamic, especially when spanned by the daring navigations of the pioneering airlines of the post-war era. In this category, none is a better example than Northwest Orient, a carrier which early on challenged the limits of American intercontinental contact with an intrepidation rivaled only by the exotic ports of Pan Am.

Northwest has stayed true to its patron cities, as forty and fifty years on, NWA is still strong in Detroit, Minneapolis, Seattle, Milwaukee, and keeps its mighty Pacific hub at Tokyo (although now out at Narita, when at the time it was at Haneda).

The above Asiatic route crests at Anchorage, and with seemingly-necessary stops at the tiny, frigid island airstrips at Shemya and Chitose, before plunging down the rim of the Pacific to arrive at Tokyo, with an onward network spanning to Okinawa, Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Manila.

Northwest has a rich and proud history, which somewhat sadly is in the process of being painted over in Delta's livery, which swallowed NWA for its strong Asian presence, particularly its Tokyo hub.

Syrianair Network: c. 2005-6

This somewhat over-designed refraction is Syrianair's network route map, c. 2005/6, showing a strong Mid-East and North African network, and plenty of European routes. The black routes come out of Damascus, extending to Manchester and Casablanca, whereas red routes seem to emanate from Aleppo, connecting as far as Stockholm, which, like Paris, is badly out of place. Even with the lazy labeling by three-letter codes, Barcelona is unmarked.

The destinations in the central circle will be detailed in the next post.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

SAS: Vienna-Nairobi-Johannesburg

Another artifact bearing witness to SAS's once extensive African presence. Its difficult to make out the date, but it seems this Vienna-Nairobi-Johannesburg route was launched on 15 December 1976 (or 78?) with a DC-10. Similar to its Monrovia service via Zurich, SAS seemed to collect its passengers from its various Nordic hubs (Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo) to a more central European airport, in this case Vienna, and from then southward toward Africa. SAS does not presently serve any African destinations.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Icelandair System, 1999

Icelandair enjoyed a golden era as Iceland's economy boomed in the last ten years and Iceland became the hippest destination for European and American weekenders. This map shows the flag-carrier on the cusp of this period, which has since ended with the complete meltdown of the global finance, which hit Iceland as hard as any place.

Note the North American destinations: Minneapolis, Orlando, Baltimore, and Halifax-- Baltimore is sadly no longer a destination, and the other two are now seasonal. Icelandair is much more widespread in Europe, ten years on, making its own way to Helsinki, for instance. It also stretches to Seattle now, filling the gap which was created when SAS made the painful decision to withdraw its long-going Copenhagen service. Two Greenlandic cities are also marked in red, although these flights are often passed between Icelandair, Greenlandair, and Air Iceland.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lufthansa: Frankfurt-Lagos-Accra/Libreville

This pair of colorful first-day covers celebrates Lufthansa penetration into the heart of Africa. It appears that Lufthansa extended its DC-10 service to Lagos to continue on certain days to Libreville, Gabon and on other days, to Accra. Lufthansa has withdrawn from a number of African destinations since then, including Libreville-- its another testament to this era that the German carrier served Francophone cities like Libreville, Abidjan, and Dakar. It is also interesting to note that Lufthansa just recently, in 2009, launched dedicated, non-stop Frankfurt-Accra service, bypassing the Lagos stop which is shown here and had been the routing up until then. Lagos and Accra are Lufthansa's only current West African destinations, served daily with A340s.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lufthansa: Khartoum-Addis Ababa

This first-day cover almost raises more questions than it answers. Did this Khartoum-Addis service begin in Frankfurt? What about the earlier post, from 1969, showing a route to Addis via Jeddah? All we know is that on 2 November 1976, a B707 began shuttling between these two cities. Lufthansa still serves both cities, nonstop from Frankfurt, but does not connect the two.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lufthansa: Frankfurt-Athens-Jeddah-Addis Ababa

A smart looking envelope, celebrating Lufthansa's 1969 launch of a route from Frankfurt to Athens, Jeddah, to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. Flight number is provided, but aircraft type not specified. Lufthansa still serves Addis from Frankfurt today.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sabena: Brussels-Dakar

Sabena's present-day iteration, Brussels Airlines, still serves 14 African capitals, including many such as Monrovia and Kigali where it remains the only intercontinental connection. This handsome, artful first day cover from 13 April 1971 shows high a priority Africa was for the Belgian flag-carrier. Type of Aircraft and connections of the route are not stated on the envelope.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Interflug: Berlin-Khartoum

Older and more drab than the other Interflug first-day covers, this one from 1969 celebrated the East German carrier reaching Khartoum, Sudan in 1969. It is also a bit curious that the post is not addressed to Interflug's office or agent in Khartoum, as is tradition with such first-flight postages.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pan Am: New York-Dakar-Monrovia-Abidjan-Cotonou-Douala

Although Delta Air Lines is rapidly expanding across Africa, and United Airlines is set to begin service to Accra and Lagos in May 2010, there are still so many cities which Pan Am served that have yet to see the return of US jets. Just look at this First-day cover, celebrating the launch of Pan Am's New York-Dakar-Monrovia (Robertsfield)-Abidjan-Cotonou-Douala service on 16 May, 1965. What a golden age.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Interflug: Berlin-Algier-Freetown-Conakry

Interflug had a variety of African Routes, but one of the most consistent seems to be its route to Freetown and Conakry, which went via Algier when it first debuted in 1972 with an IL-62.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Interflug: Berlin-Algiers-Lagos-Luanda-Maputo

Interflug was a dedicated, if unlikely, visitor to the African continent. Routings varied over time, and can definitely be more correlated to political affiliation than connection by commerce. The otherwise hermitic East Germans steered their flagship IL-62s far and wide, in this case connecting Berlin to Algiers, Lagos, reaching communist Luanda and finally Socialist Maputo in 1979.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Interflug: The African Routes, c. 1970

These two pages from an Interflug route map show its two African Routes: Berlin-Algiers-Bamako-Conakry-Freetown and Cairo-Khartoum-Dar Es Salaam. Also shown is a Near-Eastern extension to Nicosia-Beirut-Damascus-Baghdad. Note the unusual maneuvers shown over the Italian peninsula-- its somewhat difficult to understand just where the aircraft landed on their way across the Mediterranean, but Rome is not shown in red so was apparently only a radar station.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

United Air Lines: Dulles to South America, 2002

United often has bolder moves than some of its staid American cousins. Its foray into South America, long the backyard of American Airlines, and Pan Am and Eastern before it, is one such example. Although UAL couldn't make the extension to Montevideo last, the carrier still does the nightly runs to Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires, as well as Rio de Janeiro, which is, somewhat bizarrely, not even featured on this map.

United's mighty Brazilian bond within the Star Alliance, first to the now-fallen VARIG, whose connecting options from Guarlhos are shown above, and newly-ascendant TAM, certainly contributes to the success of the venture. Brazil's ascent as the second economic giant of the Western Hemisphere hasn't hurt, either. Note the Mapquest logo in the corner-- this was the era of web 1.0.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cathay Pacific Routes, 1980

Cathay Pacific is a supermajor today, with important European and Transpacific networks, so it is easy to forget that in late Imperial Times, CX was hardly to be seen outside of Asia. At the time these red lines were marked on this map, the farthest from Kowloon Bay that Cathay reached was a single stretch to Bahrain and Dubai from a scissors-station in Bangkok.

It would be another ten years from the publication of this map that the triple-mint stripe would appear in Europe at the West Coast. Note the number of intermediate stops, such as Taipei and Singapore- intraregional networks seem more common in East Asia even to this day. The direct flight to Port Moresby is also an interesting inclusion

Sunday, November 1, 2009

United Arab Airlines, c. 1965

United Arab Airlines, which was a short-lived iteration of what is today Egyptair, had a strong network of African and Arabian Routes in its day, including several down the Nile and into East Africa, and a single, trans-Saharan span, with stops at Fort-Lamy, Kano, Lagos, and terminating at Accra. Accra and Lagos are served today, a major connection between the Middle East and West Africa. The exact date of this route map is unknown, but is obviously after the dissolution of the brief union with Syria.