Saturday, August 31, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Air Volta: International and Interior Timetable

Fada N'Gourma, Gorom Gorom, Diapaga, Bogandé, Pama, Sebba, Dori. Not the sort of names that autofill on everyday. But this was the network of the dancing Chi-Wara, shown in this vintage Air Volta horaire. The more unfamiliar names occur on the Lignes Interieures at right, where the center of the card shows the schedule of the mainline Ouagadougou-Bobo Dioulasso-BouakeBamako-Lomé-Cotonou service.

Haute Volta is today Burkina Faso, of course, and Air Volta today has been succeeded by Grupo Celestair's Air Burkina.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Virgin Atlantic: African operations, June 2013

A visual from Virgin Atlantic's mobile app, showing the airline's African destinations as of this summer: Accra, Lagos, Cape Town, and Johannesburg, with the interactive showing single jet launching north from Murtala Mohammed to London Heathrow.

Virgin Atlantic's other destinations on the continent, Nairobi, Port Harcourt and Abuja have not lasted, although the airline's website still offers a destination guides to the latter two. Nor, somewhat surprisingly, has Accra, which, perhaps due to high fuel costs of operating a quad-engined A340 on the route, will end on 23 September of this year. Mauritius also did not last, although it and Nairobi are still bizarrely listed on its website. And, it should be noted, Cape Town is only seasonal.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Billboard in Accra showing the Air Mali Network, 2011

Air Mali has, in recent years, made a strong effort to be relevant in the fast-growing but still tiny West African aviation market. Prominent billboards, such as this one on the Kanda Highway near Kotoka Airport in Accra, were part of its strategy to get noticed and get customers.

The network stretches from Pointe-Noire to Nouakchott, and concentrates heavily on the Francophone capitals. However, there are a few Anglophone cities served, as especially highlighted on this advert with Accra shown more prominently than even Bamako. Lagos is also linked, although central African serves to Libreville and Brazzaville appear to transit via Cotonou or Lomé. The Freetown-Monrovia service was short-lived, and since this billboard was erected in Ghana, the country has been torn apart by civil conflict, from which it is just now starting to recover. It's not clear from the airline's website how accurate this c.2011 route map is today.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Air Nigeria Destinations, October 2012

With the renewed uncertainty around Antrak Air's airworthiness in the wake of a recent engine fire, yesterday's post recalls an earlier West African airline collapse, the sad demise of Air Nigeria, the once-proud Branson-backed venture which suspended operations in September 2012 after a number of rebrandings and a steady decline. Despite its diminished state, Air Nigeria's denouement had a major impact on West African air travelers. Nearly a month after its death, the door of Air Nigeria's ticket office in the international departure hall of Accra's Kotoka Airport sports its various destination in West Africa.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Antrak Air: No One Flies Ghana Like We Do, 2012

The optimism emanating from this A4 advertisement posted to the door of Antrak Air's ticket office in the domestic wing of Kotoka International Airport is somewhat dented by the sarcastic "R.I.P." scribbled in blue Bic at the bottom.

Thankfully for the aviation company, the fleet's grounding in the wake of an onboard fire in the spring of 2012 was temporary, and the airline is offering domestic flights between Accra and Kumasi, Sunyani, and Takoradi multiple times daily, although now it faces stiff competition from the grandiloquently named African World Airlines, and in the last week a second aircraft fire renewed calls in the Ghanaian press for the airline's immediate grounding.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Royal Jordanian: Amman to Lagos and Accra, July 2013

One of the newest entries into the fast-growing West African aviation market is Royal Jordanian, which  last month commenced a twice-weekly Amman-Lagos-Accra service on Wednesdays and Fridays. These colorfully-designed announcements appeared on the airline's website at the beginning of the summer.

While not as rapidly-expanding as the trio of Gulf supercarriers Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways, little Royal Jordanian has reached Ghana before either of the latter two, using its dashing, charcoal-grey A330, according to Airline Route, which also notes a lack of local traffic rights between the two West African cities. Emirates flies to both Lagos and Accra daily, with the Accra service, usually on a massive A340, skipping on to Abidjan before returning to Dubai.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Corsair: Three times per week between Paris and Abidjan, April 2013

A billboard inside the arrivals hall at Abidjan's Felix Houphouët-Boigny International Airport advertises the fine features of Corsair's premium cabin on its thrice-weekly flights between Cote D'Ivoire and Paris-Orly Airport, which seem to usually operate on an A330. The advertisement boasts Corsair's most recent branding, which curiously replaced the TUI-conformed identity (not to mention its more interesting, earlier colors, based on the Corsican flag). A rather bland, sail-boat inspired tail design, which is also found on its website.