Monday, June 30, 2014

Air Gabon: External and Internal Networks, early- to mid-1980s

This is a partial repost of one the delightful gems that feature with astonishing regularity at our fellow airline timetable blog, Airline Memorabilia: An un-dated, un-specified brochure of Air Gabon, guessed at to be from the early 1980s, and corresponding well to other artifacts posted here in the past of the now-defunct Gabonese flag carrier. Surely the international network are usual suspects: Lomé, Cotonou, Abidjan, and Dakar, and even at its tiny scale the world map shows a clump of electrical cords plugged in from Libreville to Marseille, Nice, Geneva, and surely Paris, and probably Rome.

Gabon was so French that it even had its own Air Inter: Air Inter Gabon, which apparently operated the circuit board at right: a staggeringly numerous network of intereur destinations—there appear to be nearly 30 in the New England-sized nation. Unfortunately, due the resolution of the file, the exact list of cities can only be guessed at comparing a map of the country with the graphic. Even The Encyclopedia of African Airlines chronicles only a handful of them. Clearly the coastal petrol station of Port-Gentil is linked along the coast, and the other coastal cities are almost certainly Iguela and Tchibanga.

There is an evident triskelion of air routes converging at the extreme southeast of the forested country, which is surely the city of Franceville and barely but clearly the very nearby center of Moanda is also shown. While larger towns such as Lambaréné and northernmost Oyem are unquestionably shown here as well as Bitam, Koulamoutou, Makokou, Mayoumba, and Mouila, but there were at least a dozen others at the time. Only a higher-res graphic would shed light.

Thanks as always to the generosity of the first-rate Airline Memorabilia blog for uncovering and sharing this unique item. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Toumaï Air Tchad: Weekly Schedule, March 2005

The weekly schedule of little Toumaï Air Tchad, the de-facto state carrier of the Republic of Chad, in early 2005. What might not be immediately evident, but is nonetheless a curious feature of this schedule, is that it does not actually mention N'Djamena, the country's capital, only significant city, and base of operations for the airline, by name. It is just presumed that each flight originates and returns to the international airport, the "NDJ" in the upper cell, near the vol, is the only written indication.

The only domestic destination, served twice-weekly, is the ancient imperial city of Abéché, now Chad's fourth-largest city, located in the eastern-central region of this enormous country. Tuesday-Sunday is dedicated to a Cotonou-Douala-Bangui operation, while Thursdays and Saturdays the airline reaches Brazzaville, via Douala or Bangui.  There are no flights on Wednesdays, and Friday has an additional operation to Niamey. There is no service to neighboring Sudan, Libya, or Nigeria.

The airline has had a troubled history, having been banned not only by the European Union but its own National regulators after a damning IATA safety report, and it is largely inactive at present. That hasn't prevented some from being enthusiastic and optimistic about the carrier.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Cameroon Airlines network, May 1975

Yet another gem from Timetable Images, this vintage artifact shows the extent of Cameroon Airline's operations from May 1975, at the height of the era when the airline adopted its psychedelically sweeping script. The cartography here is roughly accurate, the continental forms more sketch than measure, and the bright pink outline of the Republic is hugely oversized to its actual proportion, taking up much of what would actually be Nigeria, its crown-craned head stretching well into the central African territory that is actually occupied by Chad.

Unlike yesterday's post, showing the domestic network, here Douala takes center stage, with three intercontinental offerings: direct to Paris, direct to Marseille then Paris, and Rome-Paris and Nice-Paris. Curiously, the cover above differs from the inside Timetable, showing Geneva, and not Nice.

To the west, a classic West African coastal route hops twice-weekly to Lagos, Cotonou and Abidjan before leaping to end at Dakar; there's also a tiny jump to nearby Malabo (also absent from the index inside). A short southernly operation links Libreville and Brazzaville. The only international service from Yaoundé appears to be to Bangui. Lastly, and interestingly, the well-emphasized pan-Cameroonian interieur operation up the spine of the crown-craned country, Ngaoundéré-Garoua-Maroua, terminating at N'Djamena.

Special thanks to the incredible Timetable Image blog run by Björn Larsson, where credit is due for this item. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Regular Domestic Flights of Cameroon Airlines, c.1977

The domestic operations of Cameroon Airlines, as published in the "Transport" chapter of an old promotional hardback profile of the central African nation, c.1977. The nation looks dashingly dinosaurish as always, the rounded edges of its peculiar profile squared off in an early computer graphic program.

Interestingly, it is Yaoundé which appears to be the major hub; bigger, more commercial Douala is an after-thought in the lower-left corner of the country, looking no more important than tiny Tiko.  However, through some oversight, the capital city is not shown as featuring an international airport. Douala does not participate in the Garoua central air artery, which links Maroua and Yagoua and terminates at the Chadian capital, N'Djamena, the only non-domestic city shown on the map.

The information is quite similar to the airline's own literature from the same period (published here in 2011), with slight changes in domestic webbing.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ceiba Intercontinental: the Malabo-Madrid schedule, 2013

A web advertisement for the Equatoguinean state carrier, Ceiba Intercontinental, which currently limits its operations to connecting the tiny, oil-rich island state to its linguistic and colonial capital, Madrid. The Wikipedia article lists a number of other destinations, which recursively references Timetablist's earlier post of Ceiba's schedule from 2011 as proof of its wider reach, although the Wikipedia post supposes the airline to fly to Sao Paulo, Brazil, which it does not at all do. The airline's website, from whence the 2011 table originated, is currently out of service, so that doesn't help clarify the matter, either. The Malabo-Madrid serves is at least twice-weekly, with a wet-leased B777, as the airline itself is black-listed by the European Union and banned from the European airspace.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Flight Connections from São Tomé & Príncipe, c.2009

A lost fragment of the internet, this orphan gif, a visual explanation of flight connections to tiny São Tomé & Príncipe, on not-particularly-recent vintage.

The microscopic archipelago is hardly a hub of anything, other than delicious and rare cocoa, but on this map it is the crossroads of the center of the map, the closest republic to where the prime meridian meets the equator. Or, at least, the Lusophone eastern hemisphere.

Luanda and Lisbon are linked, the former via TAAG Angolan Airlines, which still to this day continues on to Sal de Cabo Verde, the latter via TAP (of course) but something else called STP Airways, the acronym denoting the little-known state carrier. Lagos and Libreville are also looped in, the first via Ceiba, the Equatoguinean state carrier, the latter via something simply labelled 'air service.' How perfectly vague.

Douala in nearby Cameroon is served by SCD, an unknown acronym, which may be related to African Connection Airways, which apparently provides air service on the island which may, or may not, include Malabo, Port Harcourt, Brazzaville, Port-Gentil, Pointe-Noire and even Bangui, if its own map is to be believed. TAP is apparently re-routing its services as of July 1st via Accra.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

United Arab Airlines: Twice Weekly from Alexandria to Athens, c.1960

From the same French shipping news as last week's Alitalia post comes this somewhat smaller, less jet-age advert for United Arab Airlines, for its twice-weekly trans-Mediterreanean service aboard a "de Luxe" Super Viscount from Alexandria to Athens; still a reasonable schedule at just two hours flying time. Today, fifty years later, the route is still alive, but now served by an Egyptair Express Embraer 170 and the flight time has been trimmed down to 1:25.

Timetablist has not featured United Arab Airlines since its infancy back in November 2009.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Gambia Airways Timetable, July 1991

Staying with the previous post in the Gambian capital of Banjul, a rare artifact featured on the excellent, encyclopedic Airline Memorabilia website, this tidbit of West African aviation history: the seven-city weekly flight schedule of all-too-brief Gambia Airways, effective July 1991.

The type-written table shows a six-day per week connection to neighboring Dakar, which reaches further as the week swells, hopping to Praia in the Cabo Verde Islands on Thursday, and culminating in a hectic Friday, with the morning flight heading southward to tiny Bissau, and the returning service passing through Banjul and stretching to the network's northernmost extent at Nouakchott in the afternoon.

Saturday afternoon is also busy, with a southeasterly service to Conakry and Freetown. Sunday sees the airline return to Nouakchott, perhaps a somewhat curious choice for the only city besides Dakar to be served more than once per week.

The schedule was apparently not commercially successful, as Gambia Airways was extremely short-lived, the last picture of one of its Japanese turboprops dates from October 1994, and very little other information exists on the internet.

Special thanks to Airline Memorabilia for this featured item. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Royal Air Maroc: Monrovia to Banjul, February 2010

Among the intra-African services provided by Royal Air Maroc are a number of regional flights between West African cities, as many capitals are paired together, creating an intermediate stop between the coast and Casablanca, and a chance to ferry passengers across these local borders, something which still today often has far too few options.

Here is an example from early 2010: Flight AT598 from Monrovia Robertsfield to Banjul, Gambia. Note the ungodly hours of 1AM to 2:40AM and a return at 3:05AM to 4:45AM; apparently this is to set the schedule for connecting flights at the Casablanca hub to Europe. Since this itinerary was printed, the service linking Robertsfield has been moved up slightly to be closer to daily hours, and now connects via Freetown's Lungi Airport.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Royal Air Maroc: Domestic Destinations, 2011

Like its African network map, Royal Air Maroc doesn't designate the routes in its domestic network, although it operates significant bases at other major cities such as Rabat, Marrakesh, Tangier, Fez, and Agadir to both domestic and international destinations.

What's more notable is what the airline considers to be domestic: here, the realm of the kingdom clearly extends deep down the Saharan Atlantic coast well into territory claimed by the Sahrawi Republic. Tan-Tan is the southernmost RAM destination in Morocco itself; Laâyoune (styled by Timetablist by the more common El Aaiún) and Dakhla, the ancient Spanish whaling port of Villa Cisneros, are claimed by the breakaway movement.

Royal Air Maroc: The African destinations, 2011

Le Réseau Royal Air Maroc du Afrique shows the impressive extension of the airline's West and Central African operations as they stood in mid-2011. From Nouakchott to Niamey, Banjul to Brazzaville, Conakry to Kinshasa, RAM successfully bridges both the Anglophone and Francophone checkerboard of the region.

The map lacks route lines, which would be particularly helpful as many of these destinations are linked together before reaching the home airport at Casablanca (Freetown-Monrovia, for instance). Also, to connect with European and other intercontinental flights, many sub-Saharan cities are served at odd hours of the night—not the most convenient schedule, but for many of these cities, one of the few options out of town.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Royal Air Maroc Network, November 1983

The state carrier of the Kingdom of Morocco has always had a uniquely-diverse network, with a strong presence in its home region of North and Western Africa, a dense array of flights across Western Europe, and a handful of long-range services overseas.

This is only more so today, but thirty years ago Royal Air Maroc already offered flights to half a dozen West African capitals, as far south as Libreville. All of them francophone except for tiny Malabo.

Francophonia features prominently across the network, linking seven cities in metropolitan France, from tiny Lille to Toulouse and Bordeaux. Much father afield, one of longest flights is to Montreal via New York, a route which the airline still serves today.

Interestingly, South America was also reached, with a single flight connecting Rio and Sao Paulo. At the eastern end of its extent, RAM's jets found their way to Damascus, Kuwait, and several other cities in the Middle East.

In this blood orange graphic (the larger background is a sunset photo), the Montreal-New York-Casablanca-Cairo-Jeddah route is emphasized in bold, for reasons unclear.

This image was derived from a post on Royal Air Maroc page of the encyclopedic Timetable Images blog. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Alitalia: Worldwide service from Cairo, c.1960

A handsome vintage print ad from a cargo trade publication in Egypt from around 1960. On the corner of the shipping news, Alitalia boasts (in French of all tongues) of its sleek jet fleet, with four departures per week from Cairo to Rome aboard the state-of-the-art Caravelle VI, which passengers can also enjoy on regional connections to Beirut, Benghazi, Athens, Frankfurt, Paris, Zürich, Madrid, Tripoli, and more distant Tehran.

But most proudly, Alitalia offers ultramodern quad-jet intercontinental services across the globe: the Super DC-8 flagship shrinks the planet with services to Dakar, Karachi and Caracas, Nairobi, Bombay, Rio de Janeiro, New York and even Sydney.

Prospective passengers could visit the Alitalia offices at the Nile Hilton Hotel, or in Alexandria.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Air Algérie: First Flight from Rome to Algiers, April 1972

A simple busta celebrating the Primo Volo of Air Algérie from Roma to Algiers, in April 1972. The aircraft, a Boeing 737, is announced, and the aircraft itself zooms head-on to the viewer in an alarming red, above the Via Aerea alert. The letter was apparently sent to Florence.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Air Algerie Timetable, 2012-13

From the printed winter Timetable of Air Algérie showing service to four continents. The list indexes  departures from the hub at Algiers to European cities like Madrid, London, Istanbul, Frankfurt, Milan and Moscow, and is particularly heavy with French cities such as Lille, Metz, Lyon, Nice, and Marseille, in addition to both the airports of Paris (virtually the only quotidien flights shown on the schedule).

Air Algérie serves most francophone West African capitals at least once per week. Here, the infrequent trans-Saharan services to Nouakchott, Niamey, and Ouagadougou are listed, as are the airline's long-haul, thrice-weekly flights to Montreal, and Dubai, and the twice-weekly service to Beijing, reflecting its global ambitions.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Afriqiyah Airways Network, 2011

A destination map of sorts, printed on the window shade of the Afriqiyah Airways ticket office, which now sits fading in the West African sun as the airline vacated in the office some time in 2011 due to its global grounding as a result of the Libyan revolution.

Previous to its sudden suspension, Afriqiyah was a surging force in trans-African transportation, connecting via its main hub at Tripoli to 14 West and Central African destinations as well as Johannesburg, transferring these intercontinental services to an array of European cities, from Düsseldorf to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Rome, as shown here, although the labels for each red dot are scattered, with Jeddah off the coast of Australia, Bangui near Antarctica, Ouagadougou and N'Djamena in the Indian Ocean, Khartoum at the Maldives, Abidjan near the Falklands, Kinshasa near Cape Town, Niamey near the Cape Verde Islands, Rome near Arkhangelsk, London north of Greenland.

Farther afield, Afriqiyah flew to a handful of Asian destinations: Jeddah and Dubai, predictably, somewhat randomly to Dhaka, Bangladesh, and distant Beijing.

Since the partial cessation of hostilities in still-volatile post-Qaddafi Libya, Afriqiyah has operated a diminished network, with services to Jeddah, Düsseldorf, London but not a single sub-Saharan city.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Tunisair network, 2014

An unfortunately-terrible iPhone 4 photo, taken at the beginning of a Friday at the airport in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, shows the large window-sized map at the Tunisair ticket office.

The airline's entire network is shown, but extra care has been taken to pinpoint the Burkinabe capital, one of Tunisair's newest destinations. All flights are shown directly from Tunis, although TU395 actually operates as a twice-weekly Tunis-Ouagadougou-Bamako service, using one of Tunisair's A320s. The map displays these Sahelian cities alongside the airline's expanding West African network: Abidjan, Dakar and Nouakchott. Closer to home, Casablanca, Oran, Algiers, Tripoli, and Cairo are connected along the north African coast, and Beirut, Jeddah, Riyadh, and Kuwait being the other destinations in the Arab world.

Tunisair serves a particularly dense network in Europe, from Belgrade to Bordeaux to Brussels to Barcelona.