Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Royal Air Maroc: the African Routes, 2011

Staying with RAM from the previous post, rare is the route map that doesn't label the cities, but here Royal Air Maroc makes for a fun guessing game—particularly challenging as the Moroccan state carrier serves so many African and European cities that identification is not so automatic. 

Looking at West and Central Africa, a single, curving route line seems to connect NouakchottBamakoOuagadougouNiamey, while there also seems to be a direct route to Bamako itself. There looks to be a link between CasablancaAbidjanPort Gentil. On the easternmost side, the service to Kinshasa appears to make a stop in Bangui. Accra, Lome, Cotonou and Lagos align smartly in the middle. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Royal Air Maroc: New York to Brazzaville, 2016

"Brazzaville" is not a place name that frequently jumps out from the screen when landing on an airline's home page. In this case, however, Royal Air Maroc seems to randomly generate a destination from its plethora of sub-Saharan services, to greet web visitors. As New York City leads the U.S. in terms of its immigrant population from Africa, and RAM is one of very few carriers connecting New York—or anywhere in North America—with the African continent, this might be one of the few spots that such a relatively obscure destination should be broadcast. As with other advertising copy, the need to change planes in Casablanca (often with a long layover) is not mentioned. There is, unfortunately, no non-stop from JFK to the Congo Republic. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Royal Air Maroc: Conakry to Beirut, March 2017

Another RAM billboard in another country: this outdoor advert invites customers in Guinea to consider the nine connections per week to Beirut from Conakry, a somewhat indirect, 13.5 hour routing via Casablanca, more than 2,000km out of the way, is nonetheless an attractive option, given the country's few air connections. 

The copy boasts of the airline's generous baggage allowance, which is a frequent selling point for airlines in West Africa, given the importance of petty trading and commercial buying trips in the region. Like most West African countries, Guinea hosts a large Lebanese population, many involved in commerce and trading or consumer products, construction supplies, garments, and other materials, so there is already a sizable potential market.

The billboard features a lovely scene of the sun setting into the Med behind Beirut's famous corniche

Friday, May 5, 2017

Royal Air Maroc: Casablanca—Washington, September 2016

As Tunisair and Air Algérie spread their wings across the Atlantic, the mega-carrier of northwestern Africa, Royal Air Maroc, continues to outpace them. Already long-present in both Montreal and New York, the state carrier of Morocco recently added a third North American service on-board its sleek fleet of new Dreamliners: Washington Dulles. The Casablanca-IAD flights, launched in September, are shown advertised here on a billboard near the Anfa Mall. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Air Algérie: Montréal-Algiers, March 2017

It seems the management of flag carriers across North Africa have similar strategy forecasts: within months of Tunisair announcing their first-ever long-haul, trans-Atlantic service to Montreal, the state airline of Algeria, Air Algérie, followed suit, with an identical aircraft. Luckily, Montreal's enormous francophone immigrant communities hail not just from North Africa but across the French-speaking states of the continent, so there is likely plenty of demand. For a brief period of time earlier this year, the airline had also planned a non-stop between Oran and Montreal, but this was scrapped in favor of increased frequencies from Algiers only

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Tunisair: Tunis to Montreal, June-September 2017

As mentioned in the first two posts from this month, Tunisair has finally undertaken a long-contemplated long-haul expansion. It's first intercontinental destination on a pristine new A330-200 was Montreal, launching thrice-weekly, summer seasonal service in 2016 which repeats this year starting next month.

Montreal, one of the world's largest French-speaking cities, has sizable and affluent francophone immigrant communities, not just from North Africa but West Africa as well. Royal Air Maroc has long served the French-speaking Canadian metropolis, and Air Algerie followed Tunisair's lead recently as well.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Tunisair Network, Early 2017

Tiny Tunisair is growing. Now extending to four continents, with extensive connections to metropolitan France (Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Toulouse) as part of more than two-dozen European destinations, including third-level cities like Belgrade and Düsseldorf

The Western Africa network is not as extensive as other carriers, but Tunis is now connected to seven francophone sub-Saharan capitals, from Nouakchott to Niamey. Three routes to the Middle East are sustained: Beirut, Jeddah and Medina, which is misplaced on this otherwise straightforward graphic representation. Not every venture has met with success, as the airline's flights to Dubai were scrapped, as has been previously reported here. 

Pride of the carrier is the airline's most distant service: the year-old long-haul link to Montreal, Tunisair's first wide-body, trans-Atlantic operation. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Tunisair: Two New Destinations: Conakry and Constantine, March 2017

Tunisair has been expanding at a healthy clip, trying to transform from a tiny state carrier to a more international network. This involves both the inauguration of a long-haul operation (long planned since before the 2011 revolution and resurrected thereafter) and the spread of services in its own corner of the world. In the model of nearby Royal Air Maroc, Tunisair has been adding destinations in Western and Northern Africa.

Here are the two most recent increases: a twice weekly operation to Conakry, Guinea, in the far corner of tropical west Africa, and a thrice-weekly connection to Constantine, that ancient crossroads, now a secondary city in neighboring Algeria.