Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Air Zaïre Network, 1981

Given this week's sleek but slender offerings from newly-minted Korongo, its incredible to look back a time when Congolese carriers had a much wider reach: the above poster shows the spread of Air Zaïre at its zenith, when it was "also celebrating 20 years" since its founding in 1961 as Air Congo.

The national carrier had an astonishing array of services, which are here represented by a powerful kinetic gesture reminiscent of an African antelope artwork. The European cities are connected by the arc of the animal's horn: Athens, Rome, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid, Amsterdam, London, Paris, and of course Brussels

The second horn aligns with the West African route, linking Kinshasa with Lagos, Libreville, Douala, Lomé, Abidjan, and Dakar. Lubumbashi is the only domestic destination included here but was hardly the only internal operation. 

East Africa on the animal's underside show Lusaka, its southernmost city (South Africa was shunned) but also Kigali, Bujumbura, Nairobi, Entebbe and Dar Es Salaam.

This calligraphic creature was used for a number of years, appearing on timetables and other advertisements. Air Zaïre's fortunes would sink with the rest of the continent's aviation companies, and indeed with country itself, which continues to be mired in conditions far less promising than a quarter century ago. 

No comments:

Post a Comment