Monday, October 22, 2012

Gambia Bird Network, October 2012

We interrupt this blog to bring you West Africa's newest airline: The delightfully sleek Gambia Bird, which, if its own press releases are to be believed, commenced operations today.

Backed by low-cost German carrier Germania Airways, Gambia Bird features A319 services from Banjul, from the 50-minute hop to Dakar to the long haul legs to London Gatwick and Barcelona. Lagos does not seem to be on the schedule quite yet, nor the non-stops between Freetown and London or Monrovia and Accra. But its current timetable does break with the norm and offer more direct non-stops, rather than interline services (the Banjul-Monrovia run does not stop in Freetown or Conakry, for instance).

There's nothing that Timetablist loves more than a new West African airline, and Gambia has been without its own flag-carrier since the disreputable demise of Slok Air in 2008, and stretching back to the proud days of Air Gambia and Gambia Airways.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Singapore Airlines: The A380 to Frankfurt, January 2012

Singapore Airlines announces its tricontinental luxury A380 service between Frankfurt and Singapore which launched on 16 January of this year. SIA was the launch operator of the superjumbo, and is currently one of ten airlines flying the A380.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

China Eastern Airlines: Shanghai-Frankfurt-Hamburg, 2012

A blue-hued depiction of the route of China Eastern Airlines between Shanghai Pudong and Hamburg via Frankfurt, as shown on the China Eastern website, which, like most of the carriers of the People's Republic, is mostly in Chinese, even for a member of SkyTeam. Not many foreign carriers serve Hamburg, despite its size and wealth, but linking the two massive ocean ports via air must be imperative enough to warrant the once-weekly extension of MU219/220 to Hamburg, which started in August of 2011. Its not clear why the interface lists the random selection of destinations in Asia, Australia and Canada as it does at right.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Royal Brunei Airlines Network, 2011

Since it first started flight to London in 1990, Royal Brunei Airlines has offered something of an alternative to the traditional Kangaroo Route choices, with its links to several Australian cities (but not, apparently, Sydney) via the tiny Sultanate's capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, and Dubai to Heathrow Terminal 4. There are even links to five cities in the British Isles, courtesy of BMI, as shown in the cartouche at lower left. The airline serves ten regional cities as well, from Shanghai to Singapore to Surabaya. This item was found via the Daily Mail online, in some sort of promotion with department store John Lewis.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Qantas Routes, c.1955

A map for Qantas from about the same era as the previous post, showing the predominant Australian carrier with all its five-continent reach, from Victoria to Vancouver, Johannesburg to Japan. Similar to this post from last year, also showing the pre-jet era Qantas, yet in this map the airline had spanned the Pacific to San Francisco, a route which commenced in 1954, just five year before the arrival of its first B707s.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Australian National Airways Routes, c.1950

A DC-4 zooms across the dry expanse of the antipodean continent in this vintage route map of the long-gone Australian National Airways. The quad-motor Douglas aircraft only entered the fleet after World War II, and shortly before the airline's demise in a fiercely-competitive market. Although this pamphlet highlights the major national route, Sydney-Melbourne, in red, the airline stretches from Cairns in northern Queensland to Hobart in Tasmania and extends from Adelaide to Perth via the outback station of Kalgoorlie. The remnants of its operations were later folded into Ansett in the mid-1950s.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Air Pacific Network, 2004

Another colorful map from a South Pacific carrier, this Air Pacific, the state airline of Fiji, displays a fan of spectral ribbons across the vast ocean, from Vancouver and Tokyo to Canberra and Christchurch, all via Nadi, the international airport Vita Levu. Tokyo, Vancouver, Wellington and Canberra have all been cancelled: this map was during a very brief period when Air Pacific flew to the Australian capital, which currently enjoys no international services.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Qantas from Sydney to Dallas: The World's Longest Flight (In Coach)

In January 2012 the Wall Street Journal's Middle Seat column featured a special report on flying coach for over 15 hours nonstop between Sydney, Australia and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas aboard Qantas. While perhaps not the longest existing flight in the world, especially in historical terms (Singapore's nonstop to New York was far longer), the article featured an interactive log of how the author passed the time--mostly watching inane television.