Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Arik Air: The Domestic Network from Lagos, 2011

In addition to its strong base at the Federal Capital, Abuja, in the center of the country, Arik Air focuses heavily on the country's megacity, the erstwhile capital, Lagos, on the coast.

Routes here connect more to the oil-heavy Delta region in the southeast, than to the northern portion of the country. Not shown here, Arik flies regionally as far as Dakar and also links Lagos to Johannesburg, London, and New York.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Arik Air: The Domestic Network from Abuja, 2011

In the aftermath of the collapse of first Nigeria Airways in 2003, then beloved Bellview in 2009, followed by the tortuous decline of Virgin Nigeria's once-grand plans for global presence, which underwent a confused transition to Nigeria Eagle Airlines and finally to the muted but still-competent Air Nigeria, Africa's most populous country seemed to lack a flag carrier.

But lately and quickly, that position has been taken on by the young Arik Air, which in a few years of operation has achieved what Virgin Nigeria once dreamed of: non-stop flights to the trifecta of premier destinations: New York, London and Johannesburg, which have been operated heretofore by A340-500s wet-leased from a Portuguese vendor.

The latest achievement is the news this week was that Arik has been granted FAA approval to fly its own, Nigerian-registered aircraft into the United States-- the first Nigerian airline in decades to enjoy this privilege.

Beyond its global ambitions, Arik has a strong domestic presence, shown in this and the following post, with two bases: one at the Federal Capital, Abuja, shown with the white aircraft hovering over a blue map, above, and the other at Murtala Mohammed Airport at Lagos, shown in the next entry.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Air Uganda Schedule, 2011

A snapshot of Air Uganda's online schedule from the summer of 2011, showing its weekly runs between Entebbe and Dar Es Salaam, Kigali, Juba and Nairobi. According to Wikipedia, Air Uganda also reaches Zanzibar and Mombasa, but these schedules are not online.

It is particularly informative to have the standard fares set right into the matrix, with Dar Es Salaam on special for only US$199.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

British Caledonian: The Intercontinental Routes, 1977 Detail # 2: South American Services

Long-haul operations British Caledonian concerned both Africa and South America. Services to both continents are grouped regionally-- a non-stop flight to Caracas also links Lima and Bogota. Service to Brazil, Argentina and Chile is routed via either Recife or Rio de Janeiro.

Other than the previously-posted non-stop from Gatwick to Recife, service to Brazil and the rest of the cone also stops in either Lisbon or Madrid before crossing the Atlantic, catching critical cultural, political and economic connections between the Iberian peninsula and its erstwhile colonies across Latin America.

See the previous post for discussion of the routes to Africa on the map. Thank you to the fantastic Airline Memorabilia blog for the privileges of reposting.

British Caledonian: The Intercontinental Routes, 1977

Reprinted with kind permission from the wonderful Airline Memorabilia blog is the inside jacket cover of a British Caledonian timetable, showing the airline's intercontinental services at the height of the airline's reach.

A dozen routes shower out from London (Gatwick) to South America and Africa, with service across the Canary Islands and North Africa.

In West Africa, Dakar, Banjul, Freetown and Monrovia (previously posted on Timetablist) are interwoven, with the cooperative operations of Sierra Leone Airways from Gatwick to Robertsfield via Lungi also shown. Accra, Lagos and Kano form another subgroup.

Central and Southern Africa are only sparsely served in a triangulated service linking Kinshasa and Lusaka, with a connecting service to the Zambian copperbelt capital of Ndola. Presumably, British Airways had rights that dominated East and Southern Africa, from Kenya to yet-to-be independent Rhodesia.

The next post will cover the South American services of the same map. Thanks again to Airline Memorabilia for the privileges.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Air Namibia: Cape Town to Walvis Bay, 1994

A multicolored first-day envelope marking the launch of SW741, Air Namibia's first direct flight from Walvis Bay, the principal port of the Skeleton Coast to Cape Town in nearby South Africa. The service by the young Air Namibia, flag carrier of a country that had only voted for independence three years prior, but had only taken control of the exclave of Walvis Bay a matter of weeks before this B737 took the skies.

The envelope is dominated by Air Namibia's crane-silhouette logo (which is repeated on the air mail mark above), above which is a delightful South African postage, reprinting a woodcut of colonial Walvis Bay from 1878.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Air France: Kuala Lumpur-Colombo-Bahrain aboard the Concorde, 1976

A special envelope, largely taken up with a map explaining the route of an Air France Concorde in April 1976 from Kuala Lumpur to Bahrain, seemingly via Colombo, Sri Lanka.

It appears that the supersonic bird had to carefully bend its route around Sumatra, the Indian Subcontinent, and Oman, but may have been able to cross the Emirates at Dubai.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

KLM: The African Network, 1966

A very detailed map of KLM's African routes in 1966, showing the particulars of its network, with numbers referencing a corresponding timetable page.

The Royal Dutch routes were thinner many decades ago than it is today, with only eight cities south of the Sahara, and the most activity along the West African coast between Conakry and Lagos.

Particularly enlightening are the southern European stop-over points: Zürich, Rome, Madrid, Las Palmas, and Tunis. Cairo, connected to Amsterdam by a number of European cities, served as a gateway to the Asia and Australia.

A single trans-African route flew from Rome-Kano-Brazzaville-Johannesburg, which has been featured on Timetablist previously.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Air Austral Network, 2011

Air Austral, the airline of the Indian Ocean island département of Reunion, operates a network reminiscent of UTA French Airlines of an earlier era, with globe-spanning services touching four continents.

Air Austral connects distant New Caledonia and the francophone Indian Ocean, both Reunion and the recently-referendumed overseas département of Mayotte, as well as the independent nations of Mauritius, the Seychelles, the Comoros, and Madagascar. A web of long spans connect the airport at St. Denis with the six largest cities of the metropole. A new route from Mayotte to Paris is the airline's latest development. The airline also serves Sydney, Bangkok and Johannesburg.

Air Austral may be a small airline, but its ultra-long haul operations have big needs: it is one of the premier customer for an all-economy class Airbus A380. In 2014, it will begin packing the superjumbo full of more than 800 holiday-makers on half-day long flights heading for the resorts of the Equatorial oceans.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Balkan Bulgarian Airlines: Harare-Sofia Boarding Pass, 1991

Perhaps one of more unusual routes in history, the state carrier of Bulgaria served the capital of Zimbabwe for some period of time, as evidenced by this boarding pass with Zimbabwe government departure tax paid in 1991-- the same year that the Soviet Union would collapse to great tumult to both southeast Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. Bulgaria was also in transition to free-market, multiparty democracy, a tumultuous period that would contribute to Balkan's demise in 2002. Zimbabwe was on the cusp of a long-term decline from African breadbasket to African basketcase. The Sofia-Harare shuttle was short-lived.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ethiopian Airlines: Systemwide Network, 1971

A bright red route map of an earlier Ethiopian Airlines, long before it had reached China or the United States, but when it was already a pioneer in African aviation.

On its home continent, Ethiopian stretched to Abidjan and Accra in the west, and only as far as Dar Es Salaam in the south. Sizable stations existed at Khartoum, Asmara, and, of course, Addis Ababa. Rome was linked with these three as the primary European destination, as it is today. Paris, Frankfurt and Athens were also within its web, the latter direct from Asmara or via Cairo.

Although Far Eastern points were beyond its reach at the time, the airline already served an array of Asian cities: Karachi, Delhi, and, interestingly, two cities in Yemen: Taiz and Aden. Only Delhi is still a destination, forty years later.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Air Kasai: The International Schedule, 2011

The weekly international services of Air Kasai, a secondary airline of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is based at Kinshasa's smaller N'Dolo Airport.

Twice weekly, the carrier flies to the coastal oil-center at Pointe-Noire, in the Republic of Congo, and onward to Libreville, capital of Gabon.

There is a also a Tuesday service that skips through the cities of the Congolese Great Lakes and on to the principal airport in neighboring Uganda: Goma-Beni-Bunia-Entebbe, returning to Goma later in the week.

Although very little information is available on the use of aircraft, or really the status of the airline at its website, the international timetable helpfully includes a requested check-in time.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ethiopian Airlines: The European Routes, 2011

Ethiopian serves six European cities--the most of any sub-Saharan carrier, including South African Airways. Indeed, this portion of the map, with its several cities interconnected, resembles an African airline route system from decades previous.

With its close colonial connections with Italy, Rome is a logical switch station, with legs spinning off north to the massive Ethiopian communities both in Sweden and across the Atlantic in Washington, D.C.

Sadly, Dulles is Ethiopian's only US destination at present; service to both New York -JFK and Newark have proved unviable, even as the airline continues to add service to China, as seen in the previous post.

This is one of four posts detailing Ethiopian Airlines global network.

Ethiopian Airlines: The Northeast Africa and Asian Routes, 2011

Ethiopian continues to have more comprehensive services across Asia than its regional rival, Kenya Airways. Riyadh, Kuwait, Jeddah, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Tel Aviv and Beirut are all exclusive to Ethiopian and reflect the country's links with the entire Gulf region, including Israel.

Likewise, whereas Kenya Airways serves only Mumbai, Ethiopian serves Delhi (curiously, here marked "New Delhi") and from there on to Beijing, which is one of four cities in East Asia. Remarkably, it was recently announced that Ethiopian will add a fourth Chinese city, Hangzhou, to its route map in 2011.

This is one of four posts detailing the worldwide network of Ethiopian Airlines.

Ethiopian Airlines: West & Central African Routes, 2011

Ethiopian Airlines' serves the vast majority of African capital cities, webbing out from Addis Ababa. Here, one of the airline's few weak spots on the continent, a lack of service between Dakar and Abidjan, is evident.

After announcing service from Accra to Monrovia and on to Conakry in late 2009, the outbreak of conflict in Guinea scrapped the extension, and a promising B757 service to Robertsfield was downgraded to a regional service from Spriggs-Payne Airport by Ethiopian's Lomé-based affiliate, ASKY Airlines.

With ASKY spreading rapidly throughout the West African region, it seems Ethiopian's strategy for the sector is limit mainline services from Addis Ababa into these smaller markets. Still, full-sized jet services operate into under-served cities such as N'Djamena, Bangui, and Malabo. Note the service from Khartoum to Juba, capital of the soon-to-be independent Southern Sudan.

Ethiopian Airlines: The Eastern & Southern African Routes, 2011

Ethiopian Airlines has long been the premier carrier of the African continent. Prior to the establishment of many state carriers (or even the independence of some African nations), the wings of the Lion of Judah was lauded for its technical proficiency and service.

The airline has not let time, and the development of other formidable African airlines (especially neighboring Kenya Airways), diminish its presence of the continent or its standing as a global carrier. Many African countries lack a home airline or flag carrier, and in the rapid consolidation of airlines around global alliances, it is the largest operations that seem destined to retain their identities. Ethiopian is unquestionably well-positioned as a regional, continental, and global airline.

Over the next four posts, Timetablist will detail Ethiopian Airlines current planet-wide network, which reaches four continents, including an impressive presence in Europe and growing service to China.

In this first post, the headquarters hub at Addis Ababa's Bole Airport pulls in passengers from across Central, Eastern, and Southern Africa.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Air Seychelles Network, January 2011

A recent route map of Air Seychelles shows an airline much diminished from previous times, although still serving three continents with Boeing 767 jets.

Like its Indian Ocean counterparts, especially Air Mauritius and Air Madagascar, the national carrier of the Seychelles mostly concentrates on leisure services to Europe, which in this case included services to both London Heathrow and Gatwick, in addition to Paris, Rome, and Milan. Previous services to Frankfurt, Munich, Geneva, Zürich, Amsterdam, Madrid, Moscow and Paris-Orly have not lasted. The Gatwick service only lasted from 2010 and was recently terminated February 2011.

Aside from these services, Air Seychelles runs a single route to Chennai and on to Singapore. Previous routes to Dubai, Bangkok, and Mumbai were not successful, despite the cultural and business connections to India and southeast Asia. Likewise, its services to the African continent are spare: only Johannesburg. Not even its previous Nairobi route lasted. The airline seems to be having little success in becoming a hub carrier for traffic across the Indian Ocean, connecting Asia and Africa.

Friday, June 10, 2011

CEIBA Intercontinental: Daily Schedule, 2011

CEIBA Intercontinental, the state carrier of Equatorial Guinea, is not in fact intercontinental, although given the microstate's vast petrol riches, these ambitions are not out of bounds.

Little Malabo is already connected to Europe with Iberia's service from Madrid, and a daily Air France connection to Paris. Royal Air Maroc connects to Casablanca, and there were once plans for Delta to connect the island to Atlanta.

CEIBA has been filling in on a regional level, its fleet of diminutive ATRs connecting the mainland portion of the country, the New Hampshire-sized Rio Muni, at its capital Bata. Other flights stretch as far as Accra and Abidjan a few times per week. Lomé, Cotonou, Libreville, Brazzaville, Douala and Pointe-Noire are other destinations.

No service to Lagos or Kinshasa is on the schedule, but the airline is surely more focused on higher-profile destinations such as Johannesburg, Dubai, Paris and the like, using something larger than its present turboprop fleet.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Air Zaïre: Timetable of Services from Kinshasa, 1977

Continuing from the previous post, the latter portion of Air Zaïre's 1977 timetable showing services from Kinshasa shows DC-10 services to several cities in Europe, again including not only likely candidates such as Paris, but also unusual stops such as Sunday flight to Rome and stop in Madrid on the way to CDG.

Kinshasa seemed to be a budding hub in those days, making use of its natural geographic location at the center of the continent. Service to African capitals radiated in eastward and westward directions, to francophone capitals like Lomé and Libreville, but also major anglophone cities like Lagos and Nairobi, mostly using the Boeing 737s.

A host of domestic destinations included major cities like Mbuji-Mayi, Lubumbashi, and Kisangani. A number of smaller Zaïrian cities were connected to the capital and these secondary cities with the turboprop Fokker F-27 Friendship.

As mentioned previously, air service is essential to a sparsely-populated territory the size of Western Europe, with even today only a few thousand miles or paved roads. Compared to the 2009 Hewa Bora map, however, Air Zaïre of more than 30 years previous served a great many more destinations.

The above is part of the collection of Björn Larsson, and is reposted under the generous privileges of the fantastic Timetable Images website.

Air Zaïre: Timetable of Services from Kinshasa, 1977

The services of Air Zaïre from its home base at N'Djili Airport near Kinshasa was indexed in this straightforward timetable from 1977.

Weekly routes spread across West, Central and Eastern Africa, Dakar to Douala to Dar Es Salaam, mostly with B737s. Domestic destinations were also served with a pair of Boeing 737 jets or Fokker F-27 Friendship turboprops. A number of connections to the Great Lakes region connected in Kisangani Bangoka International Airport (FKI) or Lisala (LIQ), birthplace of the country's kleptocratic despot, Mobutu Sese Seko.

Northward routes reached Europe with two widebody DC-10s, the flagships of the fleet. While its no surprise that the airline connected Kinshasa to Brussels thrice-weekly, it is somewhat more remarkable that a Wednesday morning departure arrived in Athens later in the evening--an uncommon destination from equatorial Africa nowadays.

The above is part of the collection of Björn Larsson, and is reposted under the generous privileges of the fantastic Timetable Images website.

The next post will detail the second portion of Air Zaïre's 1977 timetable.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sabena: Brussels-Niamey, 1987

Sabena's First Flight to Brussels from Niamey has been featured before, as the route was launched not only in 1987, as shown here, but also in 1968. The occasional nature of the service reflects the ebb and flow of African economic prosperity, specifically the price of uranium, when considering Niger.

This busy envelope isn't much for inspired graphics, even the lightly-impressed cancellation stamp lacks any illustration. Whoever sent the envelope along to Niamey was diligent enough to note that the SN435 flight was operated with an A310, which is helpful to record, although there is no mention if the service was direct, or stopped in North Africa or elsewhere on its trans-Saharan voyage.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sabena: Le Premier Vol, Lagos-Bruxelles, 16 Déc 1965

Yesterday's post featured a true gem, an old reel of vintage Sabena adverts, showing the glorious age, with its glamorous features and conveniences, both aboard the jet fleet and when transiting at National Airport, Zaventem.

Here is a first-day cover of a similar era, and recalls two earlier Sabena first-day covers, which have both the contradictory image of a Boeing 707 aircraft over par Caravelle label, and does not mention any particular routing of the flight between the two distant cities.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sabena: Service to Four Continents, c.1960

A still shot from this old Sabena advertisement, which briefly shows a map of the Belgian World Airlines reach at the time. Routes go to countries, designated by flag, not cities, and each destination gets a single direct line from Belgium, regardless of the true routing of the flights.

Certainly some of the cities can be accurately presumed (Abidjan, Mexico City, Bujumbura, Tehran, etc) while others (Lagos or Kano? Casablanca or Rabat? Oslo or Bergen? Perhaps both in such cases?) can only be guessed at.

The above is just single screen shot from a reel of Mid-Century promotional films, which are just incredible on so very many levels, and well-worth viewing for the plane spotting, the shots of JFK and Zaventem National Airports, and extinct mid-Century accents of the voice-overs alone:

Friday, June 3, 2011

Northwest Airlines: The Oriental Route, c.1953-54

This isn't the first example shown on Timetablist of Northwest Orient's famous span over the brow of the planet was a consistent feature in its promotional advertising during its golden age of post-war expansion. Decades before United, Delta or American crossed the international date line, the red routes of the stratocruisers swarmed over the rim of the Pacific in a great arc, connecting New York and Washington with the junk-crossed harbor of Hong Kong and the neon lights of Tokyo.

In between, Northwest linked the industrial belt of Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee and Chicago with the prairies of Minnesota and Alberta and the Cascades, at Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland, from whence it connected to the exotic isles of Hawaii, not yet a state. Connection service is shown down the California coast, but apparently this was beyond the extent of Northwest's route authorities in the 1950s.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sabena landing Kisangani, 1959.

In 1959, this film was shot from aboard an unidentified aircraft of the Sabena fleet as it landed at Stanleyville, now known as Kisangani. Its also not specified whether this plane was flying from Leopoldville, the capital of the soon-to-be independent Congo, or directly from Brussels, or perhaps elsewhere.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hewa Bora Airways Network, c.2009

Air travel is essential in the Congo, a country the size of Western Europe with fewer than 3,000km of paved roads. Despite this necessity, and although it is estimated to be home to a population larger than Germany, the war-scarred, impoverished nation has very few consumers of air transport. The country has not had a consistent candidate for national carrier since the days of Air Zaïre. In the decade since the switch from Zaïre to the Democratic Republic of Congo, this mantle has been held aloft on the wings of the curiously-named Hewa Bora Airways (Swahili for "Fresh Air").

HBA flies a mixed fleet, mostly MD-82s, across the massive equatorial state, connecting the major cities and economic centers (Lubumbashi of copper, Mbuji Mayi of diamonds, Goma of tantalum) of this well-endowed territory with its sprawling capital, Kinshasa. Kisangani, the city of Stanley Falls, is linked with Goma, capital of the great lakes region in the far east. According to the airline's website, a number of new domestic destinations have come into the fold since this map was drawn, as well as Entebbe.

Hewa Bora also hops from N'Djili airport across the mile-wide Congo River to the neighboring Congolese capital of Brazzaville on the opposite shore. Johannesburg is reached via the Katangan copperbelt conurbation of Lubumbashi.

The map shows a reach to northerly latitudes linking the world's other large francophone capitals, Paris via Brussels-- although there is no record of this occurring, and HBA has long been on EU's list of banned carriers, as are all airlines domiciled in the DRC.