Sunday, January 22, 2012

TAP Air Portugal Network, 1974

The last from this month's series from the remarkable Flight International Magazine archives available at flight comes this magazine-made map of TAP Air Portugal's four-continent network on the eve of independence for the Lusophone colonies of Africa. Maputo is still Lourenço Marques, and for that matter Salisbury is not yet Harare. Interestingly, the caption of the map mention's prospects of 'improved relations with black Africa' in hopes of ending the "bulge" route which avoids banned West African airspace--similar to the constrictions that Apartheid-era South African Airways endured.

Interestingly, the mid-70s TAP is thin on its routes to Brazil, merely two destinations, with no service to Sao Paulo, Natal, Belem, or Brasilia. Recife is misspelled-- merely the most glaring cartographic fault, which lazily plots northeastern US cities far inland and European capitals at random.

Luanda appears as a major scissor station, linking the homeland with five southern African cities, as well as a boomerang connection to the tiny São Tomé e Príncipe archipelago. A handful of North Atlantic routes stretch from Lisbon and the Açores to New York, Montreal, and Boston, where large communities from Portugal, Cape Verde, and the Azores reside. Direct service to the US East Coast is offered from both Ponta Delgada (here referred to as Miguel--on the island of São Miguel) and Terceira, as SATA International still does today.

Today, TAP has more routes to Brazil, and maintains its colonial connections (but not its web of services) in Africa, but has all but abandoned the trans-Atlantic trade.

The following post will detail TAP's European services shown above.

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