Saturday, September 28, 2013

South African Airways: the Southern African destinations 2013

Following from the previous post, this promotional brochure shows the ease of connecting to the southern cone of Africa from South African Airways's gateways in Europe: Munich, Frankfurt, and London Heathrow, via Johannesburg. With the map superimposed, these long-haul legs seem mercifully short. Cities in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique and Malawi are shown, as well as the airline's many domestic destinations. In most cases, especially outside of South Africa, the proposition is to fly from Europe to OR Tambo, passing over a final destination, before tracking back to reach it on a local connection.

Friday, September 27, 2013

South African Airways: the African Network, 2013

Troubled, loss-making state carrier South African Airways, whose past has been covered extensively on Timetablist, continues to dominate its home continent as one of the largest African carriers. As shown in this flyer circulated at Munich airport earlier this year, the airline still has success connecting passengers via its antipodean hub at Johannesburg OR Tambo, which remains Africa's busiest airport.

Beyond the southernmost cone, detailed in the next post, SAA serves sixteen cities in Western, Central and Eastern Africa, from Dakar to Dar Es Salaam, including smaller airports such as Brazzaville, Bujumbura, Cotonou and Pointe-Noire. However, the airline by-passes the Sahel and Sahara on its way to its new remaining European gateways.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

KLM: Nairobi to Amsterdam, April 30, 2013

The route of KLM Flight #KL566 from Nairobi to Amsterdam, a B747-400 which flew right through the notch of Sudan and Libya, as shown on the in-flight video screen, arriving the next morning in Europe. The graphics recall a similar trans-Saharan night flight from Accra from six months earlier.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta Airport International Departures, 30 April 2013, #2

The second screen of the international departures board for NBO on the night of 30 April shows activity through the night at this 24-hour airport; no restrictions on small-hour activity, perhaps because there is so little.

In the 35 minutes before midnight, Kenya Airways has two long-hauls: to Guangzhou via Bangkok, and London-Heathrow. There is a shorter flight to Bujumbura and Kigali.

SWISS leaves for Zürich, one of the last African services for the airline which formerly served a dozen sub-Saharan cities. After an almost two-and-a-half hour pause, Brussels Airlines leaves for Brussels via Kigali. Turkish Airlines takes a dead-zone departure time to fly to Istanbul, a curious time slot, and just before sunrise, Ethiopian operates the first of several daily flights to Addis Ababa.

By daylight, activity picks up. KQ leaves for Johannesburg, and follows in the next hour with departures to Dar Es Salaam, Juba, Yaounde, and a link to Lilongwe and Lusaka. Air Uganda's first flight to Entebbe leaves at the same time. African Express leaves for Berbera and Mogadishu at 7am.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta Airport International Departures, 30 April 2013, #1

The departure board at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 9PM in the 30th of April of this year, showing a squadron of flights across Africa, as well as long-hauls to Europe and Asia.

Of the 13 flights shown, 8 are within Africa, and 5 of those are on Kenya Airways: to Gaborone, Botswana, Johannesburg, and a flight to both Lusaka and Harare, all in Southern Africa. Kenya always flies to nearby Entebbe, one of three airlines offering flights to Uganda's main airport late in the evening, the other being African Express and Air Uganda. there is also a KQ service to Dar Es Salaam at 10:30, an hour after Precision Air's service to the Tanzanian capital.

Outside of Africa, Kenya Airways has evening flights to Mumbai and Dubai, the latter with onward service to Hong Kong, while Emirates has a non-stop to Dubai ten minutes later. This is followed by the 11:15 flight to London Heathrow on British Airways. The KLM flight to Amsterdam, leaving at 22:25, is the only other European flight.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

British Airways: The African Routes, c.2008

British Airways, a conservative carrier steeped in tradition, rarely makes changes, particularly to its unique route map illustration, which looks quite similar to this version from the beginning of the decade. 

The only changes are the loss of direct BA services to Harare, and the absence of the Dakar-Freetown route. The former is still on the map, but only as part of the South African-centered Comair network.

Since this printing, Dar Es Salaam dropped from the schedule just this past March, and only last week BA announced the end of its historic service to Lusaka-- two legacy routes to former colonies that can no longer be commercially justified.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

KLM: First Flight from Amsterdam to Lagos with the MD-11, January 1994

An attractive item from nearly 19 years ago, as KLM was just introducing the MD-11 to its fleet. KLM had served Nigeria for many years, initially with a stop in Kano as part of its earliest trans-African route to Johannesburg, and had served Lagos for several decades. The main event is the upgrading of the route to the shiny new tri-jet, which is both sharply illustrated on the envelope and accurately depicted on the cancellation stamp. Today, although KLM's MD-11 has still been seen in West Africa, an A330 generally does the job.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Nigeria Airways: Domestic Network, November 1981

The most obvious difference in juxtaposing the route map of Nigeria Airways in 1981 with Arik Air in 2012 is the centralization around hubs that has taken place in those decades. Here, the state carrier offered a diversity of linkages between major cities, with an array of flights connecting Kano, Jos, Enugu, Benin City and Kaduna. Even Yola and Markurdi have multiple options (although as with all route networks, the frequency of such flights is not clear).

Aside from the intricacy of this web,  the complete absence of Abuja is obvious. Today, this myriad span of domestic flights has been rationalized around a two-hub system split between Lagos and Abuja. Although airlines worldwide have consolidated into hub-and-spoke systems, it is tempting to see this transition as an allegory for the fate of the federal state and Nigerian society in these ensuing years.

As noted previously, Kano's status as a northern hub and intercontinental gateway has been erased. Note that the Ibadan-Benin City-Calabar service was suspended at the time.

See the previous post for Nigeria Airways's international network from 1981.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Nigeria Airways: International Network, November 1981

In looking from Arik Air's route map from October back to Virgin Nigeria's system from 2009, we can stretch back almost thirty-two years to this representation of the Nigeria Airways network of November 1981, as seen in the old trade publication, Flight International.

There are many similarities, particularly the nearly-identical route line hugging the West African coast to Dakar with a mini-hub at Monrovia. Intercontinentally, there are familiar routes to London and New York.

What is more remarkable, however are the many differences: Long-haul flights to Amsterdam, Rome, and Jeddah, all remarkably emanating out of Kano, with an apparent non-stop to London from Port Harcourt. There is also a trans-African route from Lagos to Calabar to Douala, crossing the heart of the continent to Nairobi, and a link to Libreville from Calabar and Port Harcourt as well. Lastly, a northern flight to Niamey originates in Kano and stops in the sultanate of Sokoto before crossing the border.

Many of these routes no longer exist. Part of this is the decline of Kano as an intercontinental airport, a topic recurring in Timetablist back to its most ancient archives, but is most startling in this earlier Nigeria Airways route map of 1973, when the majority of Nigeria Airway's European routes departed from Kano.  Like many deregulated systems, Nigeria's air services have consolidated, dropping secondary destinations and service from non-hub cities.

The next post will detail the domestic network. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Arik Air: Domestic flights, October 2012

Following on from the previous post, the small corner detail of Arik Air's two-page route map spread shows the domestic operations of the de-facto flag carrier. Here, the airline's signature red and blue colors are used to differentiate operations out of Lagos Murtala Muhammed from flights fanning out of Abuja's Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, which actually has connections to more cities than the much larger commercial capital, acting as a hub in the middle of the country.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Arik Air: International Network, October 2012

The Route Map of Arik Air, now Nigeria's premier airline and flag carrier across the world (despite a red-and-blue color scheme, without a hint of green).

Here, the world of Arik spreads across two pages of Arik's inflight magazine from last October, two three continents.

Compare to an earlier era of three years ago, and Arik's erstwhile rival, Virgin Nigeria, boasted a similar map. Yet Arik actually flies to New York's JFK airport, a destination Virgin Nigeria was never able to reach. In fact, Arik flies daily to three of the four prestige overseas destinations: New York, London-Heathrow (from both Lagos and Abuja), and Johannesburg (Dubai being the fourth, yet to be added). Luanda is also linked.

Arik has a denser West African network, naturally, as is one of the key carriers of the region. Besides the popular Lagos-Accra-Monrovia run and another to Freetown and Banjul, the airline has a francophone route from Cotonou to Ouagadougou to Bamako to Dakar. 

The inset shows the domestic network, detailed in the following post.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Ghana International Airlines: Accra, London, Düsseldorf, c.2009

After the demise of Ghana Airways, furtive attempts were made to keep a Black Star flag carrier in the skies. From 2005-2010, Ghana International Airlines was an attempt to fill that role, with a single B757 flying weekly between Accra and London Gatwick, with a stop in Düsseldorf, Germany, which has a particularly sizable population of Ghanaians. Apparently there was also a service to Johannesburg, at least according to Wikipedia. This advert was from c.2009, the airline's last full year of operations.