Monday, January 9, 2017

Gulf Air Network, October 2016: The Eastward Routes



Our final post on Gulf Air looks at its flights to South Asia and its few remaining long-haul services to the Pacific Rim, which today consist only of Bangkok and Manila. India and Pakistan are still thoroughly covered. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Gulf Air Network, October 2016: The Westward Routes



Continuing from the previous postGulf Air still has a strong presence in its home region, particularly into Saudi Arabia, with service to six cities including smaller airports like Taif and Gassim. There are also flights to three cities in Iran. Gulf Air was once a bigger actor in Eastern Africa having withdrawn from Nairobi only as recently as 2012, but today only reaches Khartoum and Addis Ababa

Note that the map on the last post boasted of 42 cities in 25 countries, whereas this counts 44 cities in 24 countries. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Gulf Air Network, October 2016



The Timetablist has discussed the stagnation of Gulf Air before—its steady decline in the face of the rise of the ME3 megacarriers, from a pan-Gulf flag-carrying air confederation to the state airline of only tiny Bahrain

As we have been updating our coverage of the Gulf-3 super airlines, it seems appropriate to add in some recent publications from little Gulf Air. The airline still flies to more than 40 cities on three continents, with a presence at several European cities, although it is somewhat shocking that flights such as those to Frankfurt are served on narrowbody A320 planes. Our last post on Gulf Air noted the re-launch of Athens flights in 2014. 

The next two posts will examine the African and Middle Eastern routes first, and the South and Southeast Asian routes second. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Etihad Route Map, September 2016: The Americas


Etihad operates some of the longest non-stop flights in the world from Abu Dhabi to the Western Hemisphere, as shown here on the left-hand side of its route map from last fall. While the 11 to 13 hour runs to New York JFK and Washington Dulles (launched in 2013) are hardly short-haul, it is the airline's 16 to 17 hour jaunts to California that remain atop the rankings: Abu Dhabi—Los Angeles, commenced in October 2013, is 5th, Abu Dhabi—San Francisco is 10th. Abu Dhabi—Dallas is 15th. It should also be noted that Etihad was the first of the ME3 to serve Chicago, first reaching the mid-American metropolis in 2009 as its second U.S. city—half a decade before Emirates and Qatar finally served O'Hare.

As with the Europe map, the North American cartography is a confusing jumble of codeshare connections, a knot of blue lines nearly obliterating the destinations at Etihad actually does serve. 

The single South American route, the non-stop to Sao Paulo, gives the airline and its home airport claim to six continent service, one of only a few airlines and airports that can boast such breadth. It was therefore all the more surprising that Etihad has been forced to retreat from the market: the last non-stop between Abu Dhabi at Brazil will fly in late March, a stunning defeat for a Gulf megacarrier.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Etihad Route Map, September 2016: Europe


Continuing to perhaps unfairly compare Etihad to its larger rival Emirates, the twenty European cities which connect to Abu Dhabi is impressive coverage for most carriers. The range of destinations reveal as much about Etihad's aggressive acquisition strategy over the last decade as the connectivity to the continent. 

Etihad today has stakes in Alitalia (hence Milan and Rome), Air Berlin (hence the flight into Düsseldorf), Air Serbia (how else to explain the flight to Belgrade) and completely rebranded Swiss regional airline Darwin into Etihad regional, which interconnects the center of Europe. 

As interesting as this somewhat incongruous string of purchases is, it begins to make for a very messy map. There are far more blue "partner" flights on this small inset graphic than the single fan of bright red links to Abu Dhabi. Together it makes the route map much too busy and challenging to read: even the black city labels in Central Europe are nearly blotted out. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Etihad Route Map, September 2016: East Asia & Australia


Continuing on from the previous post, the right-hand side of Etihad's route map shows its presence in East Asia and the key Australian routes, including Melbourne and Sydney, two of the airline's five A380 destinations. BeijingNagoya is a rare non-direct-to-Abu Dhabi connection for Etihad, which even has fifth-freedom rights within the route. Likewise, Chengdu is a rather daring entry into central China in what is otherwise a strategy strictly limited to primary cities—perhaps the airline was stung by the failure of its Chonqing service—one of only a handful cities that Etihad has retreated from. Qatar Airways has followed Etihad, launching flights to Chengdu in 2013

Monday, January 2, 2017

Etihad Route Map, September 2016: South Asia



Like its Gulf siblings, Etihad and the UAE rely on commercial, trade, and labor links with South Asia for primary sustenance. Abu Dhabi's state carrier therefore serves the region respectably, from Karachi to Kozhikode to Kolkata to Kathmandu, if, again, not quite as exhaustively as its rival Emirates, it has recently upgraded its flights to Mumbai to its double-deck A380, one of only five cities in the network that see such girth. The next post will look further east to its Australiasian services. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Etihad Route Map, September 2016: the Near Asian & East African Routes


Picking up from where we left off before the end of the year, when we had exhaustively examined the redesign of Emirates Airline's route map, here is the example of its counterpart, barely 130 kms down the national highway in Abu Dhabi: Etihad, officially the national airline of the UAE. 

The smaller but, if anything, more luxurious rival connects its home base to six continents, shown here and in the next several posts of this week with an examination of its rather pedestrian route map from the September edition of its in-flight publication. 

Starting in this post, the routes radiate out from Abu Dhabi, as does every single flight of the airline. The airlines geographic extent mirrors, in lesser form, the six-continent coverage of its rival. All the usual regional capitals are served, but more often with narrow-body A320s than with the widebodies of Emirates. Equally well-covered are the south Asian gateways, economically important but also bridges to the vast majority of the UAE's foreign labor force.

We will look further east in Asia in the next few posts, but for now it is interesting to note the strong appearances in Kazakhstan. While a number of airlines fly to Almaty, the former capital and large commercial center, it is somewhat rarer to also service Astana, the new-built capital on the steppes. 

With far fewer routes to Africa than Emirates, Etihad has but one interesting distinction, if not exactly an advantage: its non-stop flight to Mahe is in cooperation with Air Seychelles, in which Eithad acquired a 40% stake.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Emirates: Dubai to (the wrong) Panama City, August 2015


Back when Emirates first announced the world's newest-longest flight, non-stop between Dubai and Panama, in August 2015, it was major news, both due to the length of the flight plan itself and the slightly unusual destination. Although Panama is the hub for COPA airlines and therefore a significant aviation crossroads for Latin America, Emirates has no formal feeder arrangement in place with the Panamanian airline previously, and also bypassed larger cities and airports, most notably Mexico City. 

The news made Bloomberg, although a sub-sub at the graphics department missed the memo about which Panama City was being connected; here clearly showing the Spring Break version, in the panhandle of Florida, lit in yellow. Oops. 

An additional oops has been the heavily-delayed roll-out of the flight, first set for early 2016, it is now expected sometime in the first half of 2017, but has yet to declare a specific date for the inaugural flight. In the meantime, the airline has boldly expanded in Florida, adding Orlando in late 2015 and most recently Fort Lauderdale, but not, however, Panama City. But, you ever know with Emirates.  

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Emirates Route Map, August 2016: Africa


As impressive as Emirates airline's reach across Europe is, the megacarrier blankets Africa equally, from Dakar to Dar Es Salaam to Durban. Here, the airline links together several city pairs for operation efficiency. As noted earlier, service to Dakar began backtracking to Dubai via Bamako recentlyLusaka service terminates in Harare; Kano and Abuja are banded together, and flights to Accra shuttle to Abidjan and back before returning to the UAE.

For all the credit that Emirates is due in its dedication to the continent, it had relegated the last of its comparatively older A340s to its African routes before retirement.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Emirates Route Map, August 2016: Europe


A thick baobab trunk of routes juts up from Mesopotamia, spreading its boughs across the European continent. With a staggering 37 European destinations, Emirates has blanketed the region with flights even more so than any other portion of the globe, from Moscow to Manchester, Milan to Malta, Madrid to Munich. The depth of its reach is shown in secondary and tertiary markets: Prague, Budapest, Geneva, Lyon, Nice, Oslo, Glasgow, Bologna, and Hamburg are just a handful of third-tier cities which see a wide-body Emirates plane land daily, non-stop from Dubai.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Emirates Route Map, August 2016: The Middle East


For a long-haul, all-widebody airline, Emirates has not retreated from the short-haul demands of its home region—recognizing the feeder traffic into its immense global network (even as the immediate region is inundated with competition from other state carriers, as well as its friendly home town rivalry with low-cost FlyDubai). 

Here too, Emirates has utilized its superjumbo A380s on routes to Jeddah (three times per day), Kuwait, and, most recently, to Doha—the world's shortest A380 route. While seemingly untenable, the short operations optimize the scheduling efficiency of the ultra-long-haul behemoth.

Even where two decks of seats would be overkill, Emirates employs its B777s and A330s from Beirut to Muscat, often offering far more tickets on each flight than the competition's B737s and A320s. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Emirates Route Map, August 2016: South Asia


While the Indian subcontinent was not detailed on the worldwide map of Emirates Airline's routes, the region is vital to the megadarrier's strategy and success. The perennial observation of Emirates growth and network, both regionally and globally, is that the airline is not so much a flag-carrier for the UAE or the Gulf region, but for huge populations of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

Dubai itself acts as a major business capital for these economies and a convenient offshore banking, trade and leisure destination for the region's elite. With megacities such as Mumbai, Karachi and Delhi just a few hours away, hardly enough time to serve dinner on the business class deck of an A380, Dubai, and Emirates, strategy has paid off, as evidenced by the dearth of non-stop flights between India and North America. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Emirates Route Map, August 2016: The American Routes


Yesterday's post introduced the latest Emirates route map, with its gorgeously-tessalated, neo-Fullerian projection. Left off that first post was this second page, showing the Americas exclusively (and a large swath of the southeast Pacific, interestingly). 

Emirates increasing number of routes to North America are some of the longest commercial flights in the world, especially the ultra-long haul DubaiSan Francisco and Dubai—Los Angeles runs, whose twice daily A380 services are scheduled in at a staggering 16 hours 15 minutes, currently the world's sixth longest non-stop flight, followed by Dubai—Houston, which is ninth. Dubai—Dallas is 17th, and Dubai—Fort Lauderdale is 24th, and Dubai—Orlando is 28th. 

Even though it doesn't rank as highly, the Sao Paulo non-stops generally top 15 hours, the Buenos Aires link an even longer haul. Indeed, the shortest route on this map is the controversial fifth-freedom MilanNew York JFK service. 

While Emirates continues to add U.S. gateways (as was discussed in posts earlier this month), it is interesting to note that several large cities have yet to be reached, particularly Mexico City but also Vancouver and Montreal (which is served by Qatar and Turkish Airlines). Miami was recently bypassed for Ft. Lauderdale, a curious development in American intercontinental aviation which has been covered extensively earlier this month.

The map does include the Dubai—Panama route, which at 17.5 hours would soar in the rankings of ultra-long haul services. However, this launch has been delayed for almost a year and the exact start date has not been set, it is both drawn on the system and featured in the box at lower right, which also announces the start of flights to Bologna and Bamako—the table itself an index of the extraordinary breadth and growth of this behemoth airline. 


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Emirates Route Map, August 2016: The Global Routes


Since last year, Emirates undertook a redesign of their increasingly-complex route map. This stunning, dynamic work of pseudo-Dymaxion cartography is the result.

Over the next week, each page and inset of the route map will be posted in detail. This is page one, showing the red superhighways of superjumbos bolting out of Dubai like a network of refinery pipelines (fitting for a Gulf carrier). Africa, East Asia and Australasia are shown fully; South Asia and the Middle East are blank. Likewise, Europe is left mostly empty, except as it indicates the trans-Atlantic routes, which are shown passing polarwise for North America and in a trans-equatorial conduit across central Africa.

This map best represents the far Asian routes from Beijing to Bangkok and, as was discussed in the last post, the megadarrier's predominance in the Southeast Asia—Australia market and the trans-Tasman airspace, the interconnections between Bangkok and Singapore and the major Australian cities, and onward to Auckland.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Emirates: The Worldwide Route Map, March 2015


Continuing to look at Emirates this week, here is the intricate pinwheel of Emirates routes radiating out of Dubai in March 2015, scooping clockwise to East Asia and the Americas, Africa and Southern Europe, and counter-clockwise to Australia and Northern Europe. 

Several routes stand out from the spinning pattern: the controversial Milan Malpensa—New York JFK superjumbo operation being one, and the connection between Larnaca and Malta cuts across several of the three dozen routes which make up the tremendously dense European services. 

The network is at its most complex in Australasia, with the mini-hub in Singapore connecting via Colombo with onward routes directly to Brisbane and Melbourne, which also has a non-stop from Kuala Lumpur, whereas Sydney has a direct connection to Bangkok, which is itself linked to Hong Kong. All three eastern Australian cities connect to Auckland; Emirates is now a dominant player in the trans-Tasman market, flooding the antipodean skies with double-decker A380s, and making an additional appearance at Christchurch

Elsewhere, a few distant pairs are linked up operationally: the Rio de Janeiro service continues on to Buenos Aires (whereas Sao Paulo gets a dedicated non-stop); Accra and Abidjan have long been linked together. Most notably, Dakar is shown as triangulating with Conakry, although this perennially delayed service relaunch was only underway in October.

Norwegian Air Shuttle: The Long-Haul Destinations, November 2016


The recent route map of Norwegian Long Haul, the dreamliner-fleet division of Norwegian Air Shuttle, rapidly covering the globe.

The emphasis on dominating the low-fare brackets of the trans-Atlantic trade are clear, with eight American cities served, only three of which are predominantly leisure destinations: Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, and Orlando. Although utilizing some secondary airports like Oakland and BWI, Norwegian has not shied away from primary gateways such as LAX and JFK and other major airports like Newark. As mentioned in the first post this month about Norwegian, Barcelona will soon be added, giving several of these U.S. cities flights from six European airports on Norwegian B787s.

Four Caribbean destinations are also reached, these, interestingly served from these same North American cities: BostonGuadeloupe and Boston—Martinique began in February 2016 before any flights to Logan from Copenhagen, Oslo, or London Gatwick. The French West Indies are served from New York and Baltimore as well. San Juan and St. Croix are only served from Europe.

The network is far less developed in the easterly direction. Reminiscent of the posts from earlier this month, but one Asian destination is served: Bangkok.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Emirates: Daily flights to/from Ft. Lauderdale, 15 December 2016


As mentioned in the last post, today marks the launch of Emirates Airline's daily non-stop service from Dubai to Ft. Lauderdale, the Gulf mega-carrier's 11th U.S. gateway and the second in Florida—the 10th American city was Orlando, launched in September 2015. The B777-300 service is by far the longest non-stop from Ft. Lauderdale.

The marketing of the flight by Emirates has been somewhat interesting, as the adverts emphasize "South Florida" with pictures of the art deco streets of Miami Beach.

Along Sheikh Zayed Road, in Dubai itself, where the airline takes up the side of a massive Novotel in Dubai Internet City to advertise its constant new services, the tarps are emblazoned with "Miami" over Ft. Lauderdale, as seen here as workers paste over the "Hello Hanoi" advertisements from the beginning of 2016.

 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Norwegian Air Shuttle: New Route to Fort Lauderdale from Paris, August 2016


Yesterday's post discussed the acceleration of Newark Airport into an intercontinental gateway beginning around 1990, and the role of a Scandinavian airline in that growth. Here we have a similar circumstance, as the compact Ft. Lauderdale International Airport has grown from a discount, secondary airport into a major intercontinental gateway to balance Miami International in handling trans-ocean traffic into South Florida. 

Ft. Lauderdale's profile was elevated with the appearance of Caribbean and Latin American feeder flights and Canadian snow-bird services. Today, flag carriers now reach Ft. Lauderdale from as far as Colombia, Ecuador, and, since 2014, Brazil. Most recently—and most astonishingly—there is now nonstop service to Dubai, with Emirates commencing non-stop B777 flights this week. Announced barely two months ago, UAE megacarrier chose FLL over Miami as its 11th U.S. gateway due to its inline partnership with Jetblue.

But as impressive as the 14+ flight distances are, a recent development that has greatly raised Ft. Lauderdale as a gateway to Europe has been the arrival of Norwegian Air Shuttle's dreamliners from its Long Haul division. Paris-CDG is the fifth European city that Norwegian is connecting to Broward County, beginning flights this past August. Norwegian will add Barcelona as its sixth non-stop next year. Also announced back in October: British Airways will also start flying from London-Gatwick in 2017, and Condor made the airport part of its nationwide entry into the U.S. market from Frankfurt

Sunday, December 11, 2016

SAS: Oslo-Newark Launch, March 2011


Continuing to look at SAS, this magazine page advert announced daily service from Oslo to Newark commencing on 28 March 2011, with an A330. The Scandinavian air confederation has a unique history with the New Jersey airport, having moved all its New York-area operations there in 1989-1990 as part of its partnership with—and ownership stake in— Continental Airlines, one of the early precursors to today's global alliance format, although it seems that in those days the transatlantic flights were only to Copenhagen and Stockholm. Those cities are listed here, along with Bergen, Stavanger, and Helsinki, somewhat curiously, in that Finland is not a member of the SAS system.

Friday, December 9, 2016

SAS: The Worldwide Routes, 1960


In looking at the 21st century SAS, we can compare yesterday's subject to same airline at the height of its global reach. 

One the more regal route maps to ever grace the Timetablist, this magnificent, dynamic cartography exemplifies an earlier era the grandeur of the jet age is reflected in the eloquence of this graphic design. A so-called “spiral-polar projection,” which was “created especially for Scandinavian Airlines System to illustrate its worldwide routes,” are the only notations to the map. 

A quad-jet whisks its way into the high atmosphere, the might of its propulsion sweeps up the landmasses themselves, with far Siberia pulled away from the surface of the planet. The very latitudes of the global are twisted into the vortex of the jetliner's contrail. 

Upon the surface of these landmasses, thick red lines spread outward from Northern Europe to five continents. At the outer limits of the first generation jetliner's range, an impressive OsloLos Angeles was achieved, and lasted for decades, which as mentioned yesterday only came back in March 2016. Montreal and New York (the latter via Glasgow, it seems) were the only other North American destinations.

South America was, somewhat incredibly, more thoroughly covered, with the system's Lisbon—Recife—Rio de JaneiroSao Paulo—Montevideo—Buenos Aires—Santiago service. Africa was also served with a classic east African spine, Rome—Athens—Cairo—Khartoum—Nairobi—Johannesburg. None of these South American or African cities are served today. 

In addition to a half-dozen Near Eastern cities, SAS operated a trans-Asian trunk route to rival those of other European aviation pioneers, with a scissors-base at Karachi linking to CalcuttaRangoonBangkok, which split to either Jakarta or onward to Manila—Tokyo, which swung northward to Anchorage to return to Copenhagen, here transgressing the print's nautilus-shell projection of the globe. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

SAS: Intercontinental routes, 2003


Yesterday's post, with its many routes between Scandinavia at Thailand, relate to this polar-projection route map, showing the intercontinental routes of Scandinavian Airlines in 2003. A decade ago, those consisted of flights to the United States and East Asia, mostly from Copenhagen, although there were also StockholmChicago,  Stockholm—Newark, and Oslo—Newark flights.

Since the publication of this timetable, there have been a number of changes: Seattle was dropped in 2009 after 42 years of non-stop service, Bangkok followed in 2013, ending 60 years of service, and flights from Singapore are now operated only by Singapore Airlines. In their place, Shanghai was added to the network in 2012,  San Francisco flights started in 2013, and Stockholm—Hong Kong began in 2015

The expansion has continued rapidly in the past year: Stockholm—Los Angeles was relaunched in March 2016, a return to Southern California after three decades of absence, and two routes to Miami began in September 2016.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Thai Airways Route Table: Routes from Phuket and elsewhere, November 2016


As shown in the previous post from yesterday, the remarkable Route Table in the back of Thai Airways's in-flight magazine indexes every route of the airline. After listing all the routes out of Bangkok, the remainder is given over to flights from other airports.

While many are leisure routes direct from Phuket, namely Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and St ockholm, there is a direct trans-border hop from northern Chiang Mai to Kunming in neighboring Yunnan province, and a somewhat anachronistic link between Karachi and Muscat, recalling pan-Asian journeys of an earlier era.Likewise, the TaipeiSeoul route shows the vestiges of the decades when a handful of flag carriers operated across East Asia.

Equally fascinating are a pair of what might be categorized as religious routes: GayaVaranasi—Bangkok (these two cities premiering here on The Timetablist). These services clearly reflect the importance of Hindu pilgrimages to Thai's customer base. The closest examples to these types of operations would be Aer Lingus's pilgrimage operations of an earlier era, which are now almost entirely covered by charter operations. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Thai Airways Route Table: Routes from Bangkok, P-Z, November 2016

Continuing on from the previous series of posts, here is the second page of Thai Airways's Route Table in the back of its in-flight magazine. This post finishes tagging all the destinations from Bangkok, as nearby as Siem Reap (this post marking the premier of this destination on The Timetablist) and Vientiane, to as distant as Zürich, Rome and Stockholm. Note that both Haneda and Narita are present for Tokyo, and Xiamen is one of the mainland Chinese cities which have joined the network. 

Although Thai Airways is diminished from its previous glory days, because of the strength of Thailand as a leisure destination, it remains present in a number of secondary European gateways, as this route table shows. 

Thai Airways Route Table, M-P, November 2016


Continuing on from the last post, tagging Thai Airways's route table from last month in the back of its in-flight magazine with the destinations M-P. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Thai Airways Route Table, G-M, November 2016


Continuing from the previous post, the full route schedule of Thai Airways is, somewhat remarkably, tables the entire route network of the airline in the back of its in-flight magazine. Here are tagged destinations G through M from Bangkok. Almost all are in Asia, except for London, Melbourne and Moscow

Thai Airways Route Table, A-G, November 2016


Echoing a post from earlier this week, Thai Airways has kept up its tradition of matrixing its entire route network in the back pages of its in-flight magazine. Details include the mileage, flight time, time zone, and even the local contact number. Comparing to the 2013 version, the increased number of Chinese cities, such as Changsha and Chongqing, is most obvious. 

The entire table will be covered in the following series of posts. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Thai Airways: New Direct Route to Tehran, November 2016


Forwarding to today's Thai Airways: last month's edition of the Sawasdee inflight magazine featured this advert, announcing the airline's new flight non-stop to Tehran, four times per week. Somewhat unusually for an airline advertisement—very informative but rather old-school—is the inclusion of the weekly schedule in the bottom-left of the page, which is dominated by the gorgeous rose-tinted photo of the landmark Azadi Tower, the most recognizable symbol of the city. Like the gateway arch itself, the advertisement marks the opening up of Iran to new business, and this is surely only the beginning of new airline service to the country's capital. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Thai Airways: The eastward route network, 2013


The right-hand side of the route network of Thai Airways International, another page from a 2013 edition of the flag carrier's Sawasdee inflight magazine, continuing from the previous post. Most connections from Bangkok, are unsurprising, with a number of cross-connections at Hong Kong and Seoul, although perhaps more interesting are the routes to Kunming and Chengdu in interior China. The inset shows domestic routes and the now-scrapped service to Los Angeles.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thai Airways: The International Routes, 2013


Like Garuda (not to mention Malaysia Airlines), Thai Airways International is still a going concern but is significantly smaller than it has been in the past. This table, from the back of Thai Airway's inflight magazine from 2013, illustrates the point. Information listing the airline's international services from Bangkok from R—Z, with Rome no longer a destination. A handful of secondary leisure routes are shown thereafter, such as CopenhagenPhuket and Stockholm—Phuket, and intra-Asian flights such as Hong KongSeoul and Hong Kong—Taipei, as well as the old Seoul—Los Angeles route which was removed from the schedule in 2015 after 35 years of service.

Also interesting here are the number of routes to tertiary Indian cities, specifically Varanasi and Gaya, presumably as pilgrimage sites. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Garuda Indonesia: The International Routes, 2016


Staying in Southeast Asia as we finish up the month, it recently came to the attention of the Timetablist editorial committee that Garuda Indonesia has never been featured here before. A remarkable oversight which is today corrected with the airline's present route map.

Although the Timetablist strives to exhibit only the finest and more informative examples of airline cartography from the present and the past, all that we have available today is this extraordinarily complicated route map  from the airline's website.

While we applaud an airline which still undertakes to provide an old-fashioned route map on a website in this day and age, and we note that the batik-print of the continental landmasses here is a nice touch, the over-representation of codeshare routes muddles the instructional value of this map.

Perhaps the excess is an attempt to match the flag carrier's former glory. Having once had a wider reach and grander ambitions, Garuda endured an ignominious period as an international aviation pariah, black-listed from European Union airports from 2007 until 2009, and forced to retreat from some of its flagship routes, particularly the prestigious Los Angeles service and the JakartaAmsterdam trunk route to its colonial metropole along with every other inch of European airspace.

As with so many flag carriers, the contemporary iteration of Garuda is a simpler, more streamlined version, serving far fewer cities, both it is immediate region and farther afield. The triumph of the airline's renaissance has been its return to Amsterdam Schiphol, and, more recently, the reintroduction of service to London Heathrow in March of this year. Of late, management has publicly affirmed its commitment to reconnect to LAX by next year.  

That the Garuda of today only serves two European cities is nearly impossible to decipher from this route map, which shows more cities in Europe, 21, than foreign destinations that Garuda actually operates anywhere.

In truth, Garuda flies to Jeddah and Medina, (as much for the labor migration of its citizens as for holy pilgramages) and otherwise just a bare handful of east Asian megacities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and Hong Kong. Flights out of both Jakarta and Denpasar airport on Bali to the major Australian cities of Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney cater to both tourism and business.

That's it. That is the extent of Garuda Indonesia at present. The dozens of other cities on this map are superfluous, showing codeshares and even freighter routes. In this day and age, most travelers are at least vaguely aware that an international airline cooperates with other carriers to ferry passengers beyond it own network; it is therefore completely unhelpful to show Cairo, Nairobi, Barcelona and Bahrain here. An airline's route map would best be limited to the airline's own routes, to demonstrate the actual extent of an airline's operation.

As it is, strangely random information, such as showing both “Moscow” as well as “Sheremetyevo” obscure more interesting operations such as Garuda's Jakarta—Singapore—Amsterdam—Jakarta routing and its non-stop from Medan to Jeddah. As it is, the map gives a sense that Garuda is attempting to display the wide breadth of its former glory of decades past, to the detriment of a more informative graphic.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Royal Brunei Network, c.2013


Continuing from the last post, here is another Royal Brunei route map, from some time before the flag carrier's logo changed, de-emphasizing the open-palmed crest of the Sultanate in favor of the current, boring monogram. It's often fun when pictograms stand in for cities; those here by and large stay within the pedestrian and predictable—a beefeater for London, the Merlion of Singapore, the Petronas Towers for Kuala Lumpur, a camel ride for Dubaithe Oriental Pearl TV tower for Shanghai, the skyline of Central for Hong Kong, oranutangs for Kota Kinabalu—although probably less know is the symbol Surabaya, the statue depicting the legend of the shark fighting the crocodile. Also, its unclear how Melbourne is particularly associated with a hot air balloon. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Royal Brunei Airlines Routes, 2016


The Timetablist has featured Royal Brunei before—compare the above map, currently printed in this month's inflight magazine, with the 2011 version posted previously. This small airline of one of only two sovereign sultanates in all the world. The carrier has traditionally connected the tiny southeast Asian statelet, the only country whose territorial extent exists entirely on the island of Borneo, with the rest of east Asia, and has also long operated a route to London Heathrow via Dubai, which is today operated with the sleek B787. The non-stop flight to Jeddah is a somewhat more recent development. As recently as that last post, multiple cities in Australia were served, now the sole route is Melbourne. The inset shows some codeshare partnerships with Garuda, Thai, MAS and Turkish, although other than Istanbul, RB already flies to each destination shown.