Sunday, February 28, 2010

Swissair: Zurich-Philadelphia, August 1990

Like many aspects of Philadelphia's recent history, its airport's prominence as an international gateway has had its ups and downs. Today it has myriad options thanks to USAirways, which covers nearly 20 destinations non-stop, from Barcelona to Tel Aviv. Planespotters would have been disappointed by last year's switch of the CDG run from Air France to Delta, leaving British Airways and Lufthansa as the only European carriers to serve the enormous terminal at Philly. Swissair's service to Zürich did not last the airline's turbulent demise and rebirth as SWISS, although Koten Airport is still connected to PHL as one of USAirway's non-stops.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Royal Air Maroc: Timetable, Winter/Spring 2010

This might well be called, "How Not to Publish a Timetable." Its not clear why these cities have been proposed for indexing. Might a RAM passenger from Milan be slightly more likely to need to find the schedule to Tangier or Fes, as opposed to Malabo or Nouakchott? The section for Monrovia does not even mention that the routing passes through Banjul, currently the only westbound flight from Liberia. Casablanca is mentioned only by its CMH code as the connecting point. Marrakesh is nowhere. Perhaps RAM is really pushing the African routes, which are excellent (see posts from the previous week), but this timetable's exclusions miss a lot of that carrier's offerings.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

British Caledonian: Gatwick-Banjul-Monrovia, April 1982

More of Banjul: this might not look particularly relevant, but this is in fact the dinner menu on the Gatwick-Banjul-Monrovia flight from the evening of 10 April 1982. With typical BCal thoroughness, the folder including routing and aircraft information; sadly this is particular paper is not part of Timetablist's core collection, so further elaboration is not available here. It does however stand as an important document proving two of Timetablist's favorite topics: the erstwhile prominence of Robertsfield among European carriers, and the last few posts' celebrations of the similarly past glory of Banjul's international connections.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Air Gambia: Gatwick-Banjul-Freetown, Winter 1973

Bathurst and Banjul did not only see foreign carriers in their time. Here is a document (pulled from the Corona typewriter, perhaps?) showing Air Gambia's winter schedule to Gatwick Airport and onward to Freetown. Must have been marginally popular then, but hardly like the air bridge that exists today of Thomas Cook package tourists who make their winter holiday on Gambia's gorgeous beaches, which make the tiny slice of West Africa a little tourism success story. Air Gambia used a B707, which somewhat shockingly was seen at Gatwick as late as October 1993, but it didn't last.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pan Am: Miami to Africa, 1941

More history of the Cape Verde coast as global node. This particular envelope from December 6, 1941, celebrates Pan Am's first arrival in Bathurst, Gambia (today Banjul). More broadly, the deep, dynamic illustration shows a flying boat clipper which originates at Miami and reaches the equator via San Juan and Port of Spain, calling at Belem and Natal in Brazil, before crossing the ocean and reaching Bathurst. From there it appears to extend to Lagos and on to Leopoldville. As with the previous post, Dakar did not get the glory.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lufthansa: Stuttgart-Bathurst-Rio de Janeiro

Speaking of routes linking Europe and South America via the Cape Verde coast of Africa, here is a colorful artifact celebrating Lufthansa's long history of serving the German-speaking enclaves of South America ("since 1934") and the service linking Stuttgart and Rio de Janeiro with a stop in Bathurst, Gambia (now Banjul), in November 1970--showing it isn't Dakar who gets all the action. Despite the maps and imagery, the envelope lacks the usual Lufthansa details such as aircraft type and flight number.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Virgin Nigeria Network: July, 2009

Virgin Nigeria is slowly being rebranded as Nigeria Eagle Airlines, as Sir Richard has apparently had enough of doing business in Nigeria. Can't blame him for giving it a go and sticking with it, though. Its not that bad, either: new planes, relatively low fares (by African standards, anyway). It didn't ever sustain its ambitious plans, however, as this route map, from one of its last published in-flight magazines, shows. The London and Johannesburg flights were a bit erratic, its reported. Timetablist can also confirm that Virgin Atlantic itself was sometimes seen landing in Nigeria: Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt, if mental archives are reliable...
The other page from the route map is totally irrelevant as truth but a ponderous exercise in wishful thinking. VK never made it across the Atlantic, despite the abundant traffic between New York, Houston, Washington and Nigeria. Another Nigerian line, Arik Air, has quietly inaugurated a JFK service, which seems to be doing well despite the recent added security to Nigerian air travelers.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Turkish Airlines: Istanbul-Dakar-Sao Paulo, July 2009

This is a new format for Timetablist: a cellphone camera shot of the departures board of Yoff International Airport in Dakar, Senegal (taken at the ungodly hour of 2:52am! Why are West African flights all in the middle of the night? Really, would someone please leave a comment explaining this...)
This particular screen shows several recent developments, among them Dakar's importance in its flights to the US, Delta's presence in Africa, but Timetablist's favorite route in the world right now has to be Turkish Airlines's A340 service from Istanbul to São Paulo-Guarulhos via Dakar. How a Turkish carrier is connecting Brazil and Africa is a story of our global age, and the news of its launch was bewildering and exciting when annouced last year, and it is sad but unsurprising to hear that it is ending in next month. The Dakar-South America connection has historically not been an uncommon one, but is fun and unique nowadays. (NB: Timetablist was waiting to board the 03:40 for Accra, in which it was decided to serve a full dinner at 4:30 in the morning.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

SAS: the Transatlantic Routes, 2006

A more colorful atlas-style polar projection showing SAS's routes from 2006, compared with its silver-and-clay color scheme from 2003 (yesterday's post). Its old territory of West Africa beckons from the bottom of the page, only Cairo is reached on the continent.

Monday, February 1, 2010

SAS: Map of the Long-Haul Routes, 2003

,Scandinavian Airlines System's contemporary operations focus on two long-distance markets: Asia and the United States. The US side has increasingly been aligned with United Air Lines's feeder system from its hubs (in the 1980s the alliance was with Continental's base at Newark), as well as a reliance on ethno-cultural links to Scandinavian communities in the United States, such as the Upper Midwest. Chicago O'Hare's links to both Copenhagen and Stockholm can be understood in this context, as certainly Seattle should be seen, beyond the usual link between major advanced economies.

SAS, like Finnair, has also been seeking advantage of the polar-orientations of Europe-to-North Asia routes, with some success. Other than that, SAS is limited to the European area (see yesterday's post for an exhibit of how far the system's reach used to be). Its mournful that SAS no longer lands at Seattle-Tacoma.

The copper monochrome of this polar projection is interesting, as is the inclusion of the moon for added extraterrestrial effect.