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. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

EVA Air Network, c. 2010

Continuing to look at the airlines of Taiwan, here is straightforward route map of the Republic of China's secondary carrier, EVA Air, in its signature evergreen. From Taoyuan, long haul operations spread east and west, to Europe and North America; EVA was one of the earliest Asian carriers to land at Seattle and has long served Vancouver as well. (Houston has since been added). 
Amsterdam and Vienna are interesting European destinations, and are still served in an unusual routing via a minihub Bangkok—only Paris is served direct from the home airport. Other notable destinations include the sole antipodean city of Brisbane, and a number of secondary cities in Japan such as Fukuoka, as well as the OsakaLos Angeles supplementing its direct service from Taipei.

Notably absent from the map is any Mainland China service; EVA Air now flies to 17 cities in the PRC.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Fly China Airlines and explore Asia, 2015.

Continuing to look at China Airlines, this print advertisement from last year details the carrier's trans-Pacific schedule to North America. Below the lovely kaleidoscopic imagery, a table details the schedule and frequency of flights from five gateways to Taipei Taiyoun: Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Vancouver. Up until 2008, China Airlines flew to Seattle as well. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

China Airlines: Direct Flight Non-Stop from Rome to Taipei, November 2016


A back-lit billboard currently gracing the departures halls of Rome Fiumicino Airport, promoting China Airlines's hub at Taipei as a gateway to the "Extreme Orient" and Oceania. Although the dotted lines land on countries, not specific cities, there are a lot of options of the Italian traveler headed east, as CAL links to three cities in Australia, two in New Zealand, two in Malaysia, and a dozen in Japan. Indonesia and the Philippines are also served but are not shown on this advertisement's map. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Finnair: The Shortcut to 11 Cities in Asia, 2012

As our first post of the month featured an unusual route between easternmost Europe and China, this item which has been in our filebox for a few years seems most relevant. Finnair has over the last decade remade itself as a premier airline between Europe and Asia, especially China, avoiding competing on the trans-Atlantic competition, where its northeasternmost position was a disadvantage, and playing up the strength of Helsinki's near-polar location the long-haul routes follow flow across the continent efficiently. 

Finnair has had a lot of success with this strategy, even profiting from some of the world's more random long-haul routings from what is essentially a very small airport at Vantaa to cities such as Nagoya and Chongqing, which was the newest destination on this map. Since this magazine advert, Finnair has expanded into China further, reintroducing Guangzhou and adding Xi'an, as well as serve to Ho Chi Minh City, although Hanoi was less successful. Much of this service is also apparently seasonal. 

This advert's smooth whites and greys almost feel polar, positioning the globe in such a way that the 11 trans-Asian routes flow over its curvature. Its unclear exactly what the European routes are, as they are not labeled, but the concept of Helsinki as a transit hub is made quite clear. A single line tucks behind the planet, indicate Finnair's few North American routes, which currently consist of New York and Miami and seasonal service to Chicago, but will soon include San Francisco. Boston, Ft. Lauderdale, Seattle, Toronto and Montreal are among those cities that didn't work out. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

TAROM Romanian Airlines: Worldwide Routes, c.1974

Continuing to look at the global extent of the airlines of the Eastern Bloc at their height, this unique map shows the routes of TAROM, the Romanian state carrier spreading across four continents. 
There are plenty of routes within Europe, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, culminating in an interesting BucharestPragueAmsterdamNew York schedule as its sole operation across the Atlantic. This route may or may not have stopped in Gander—it is difficult to be certain as the cartography inconsistently marks destinations, with the red lines variously pass over or turn at a city without a marker, or break at a city on the map, or such breaks are marked by a circle around the underlying city.  

Several lines cross the Mediterranean to Algiers and Tripoli (possibly by way of Benghazi) in a similar vein to Czechoslovak Airlines. 


What is unquestionably the most notable aspect of the airline's operation occurs on the southeastern corner of the map: the long, winding tentacle reaching its way from Bucharest to Istanbul, then onward to Tehran and then reaching Karachi, where it elbow-bends along the Indus and over the Himalayas to reach Urumchi in Chinese Turkestan, where it continues across the vast People's Republic, where it seems to waystation at Hami, Yumen, and Taiyoun to finally terminate at Beijing

With just a little over 100,000 people live in tiny Yumen City, in Gansu province, which doesn't even boast an airport. While Hami, a small outpost in Xinjiang, has a regional airport, and Taiyoun's Wusu International is the principal airport of Shanxi Province, there are few international flights, and no European service, from these three cities. This trans-Socialist aviation envoy is surely a rarity in aviation history. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Lufthansa: The Worldwide Network, Part 2: The Afro-South American System.

Continuing from the previous post, it is, as always, interesting to note the enormous number of African destinations that were once served by European airlines. Lufthansa flew to a great many more African cities than today, shown here in three trunk lines extending across the Mediterranean. In the east, a route to Khartoum turns at Addis Ababa to make its way to Entebbe, then on to Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam, where the line splits to terminate at Mauritius or further south to Johannesburg, which meets the central trunk from Tunis—Tripoli to Accra, Lagos and then Kinshasa, shown cluster together in the Bight of Benin. Many of these sub-Saharan services have been presented on the Timetablist before.

In the Western Mediterranean, a third line passes again through North Africa and continues straight across Dakar towards South America. turning only slightly at Rio de Janeiro, plunging further to Sao Paulo—Montevideo—Buenos Aires and turning 90 degrees to finish to Santiago, which is also linked along the Andes to northernly American cities.

As it has so many times in the past, Timetablist would like to express its appreciation for Flickr user caribb (Doug from Montreal)'s incredible collection, and to say thanks  for allowing the reuse of these images under creative commons.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Lufthansa: The Worldwide Network, mid-1973


A recent post referenced the famous Lufthansa Spinnernetz Streckenatlas, which brought to our editorial attention that we had overlooked posting one of the more legendary graphics of Timetable History. Here is the 1973 version, courtesy of the perennially superb collection of Flickr user Caribb. 

As its base, the map is a unique, polar-focused pseudo-Azimuthal projection, showing all continents but with the Pacific meridians hooking back away from the globe's infinite edge into the north pole. The network itself is given an even more liberal representation, made up of just ten enormous trunk routes, intersecting at the center of the map over Germany (but, interestingly, not specifically mentioning any Deutsche Stadt).

Foreign and overseas destinations are listed in neat columns as these thick ribbons pass near to them: Singapore and Jakarta are skirted, not passed over, on the way to Sydney (Lufthansa left Australia decades ago). A single line from Philadelphia to Quito hits Nassau, Kingston and Bogota, meeting up with some sort of Europe–Caracas route before reaching the Andean way stations. A small offshoot links to Mexican destinations, including Monterrey and Merida, which are also of course no longer served.  The transpolar route from Germany to Anchorage makes right angle with Germany—Bangkok; a semi-circle of Hong KongOsaka(Itami)—Tokyo(Haneda)—Anchorage makes the grapefruit quarter.

Other images from caribb's Flickr stream show a fleet of DC-8s and 707s in heavy rotation, assisted by the brand-new B747s in the fleet. The next post will detail the African and South American Cone destinations.

As it has so many times in the past, Timetablist would like to express its appreciation for Flickr user caribb (Doug from Montreal)'s incredible collection, and to say thanks  for allowing the reuse of these images under creative commons.

Friday, October 28, 2016

ČSA Czechoslovak Airlines: The IL-62 Services, c.1970

A final item for ČSA Czechoslovak Airlines in its Soviet era: a route map specifically for its flagship IL-62 quadjet, which roared its way from Moscow to MontrealJFK to Jakarta. The precise date of the item is unknown but the carrier still operated its west African route, although here it is curiously shown as stopping in Rabat instead of Casablanca on its PragueAlgiersDakarFreetown schedule. The trans-Asian service is by now familiar, stopping in Athens, then splitting between Tehran and CairoKuwait before scissoring at Bombay to link Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Jakarta

The three transatlantic cities are shown as well, with Brussels and Amsterdam as way stations to North America. The superjet also whisked apparatchiks domestically, the only IL-62 service from Bratislava was back to Prague. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

ČSA Czechoslovak Airlines Route Map, 1982

Keeping with the history of Czechoslovak Airlines, we return to the amazing album of  Flickr user Caribb's incredible collection, this photo showing the route map of ČSA in a similar arrangement to the previous set of posts.

While still a pinwheel arrangement with Prague as its central hub, the network appears on a red field rather than concentric orbs. Long-haul routes are sparser than the previous decade: IL-62s still cross the Atlantic to New York, Montreal, Havana, (the timetable of which we covered years ago in an early post) and there are still trans-Asia flights reaching to Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore via Bombay or through Athens are all the same, but Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta are out.

The KuwaitAbu Dhabi schedule operates via Cairo. North Africa still well represented with Algiers, Casablanca, and TunisTripoli.

One of the other shots Caribb has in his online gallery is a plan of the IL-62, which curiously show smoking and non-smoking sections adjacent to each other for the entire length of the cabin.

Bratislava again appears in the upper-right, with a few Eastern bloc international connections and domestic routes in dark ink.

As it has so many times in the past, Timetablist would like to express its appreciation for Flickr user caribb (Doug from Montreal)'s incredible collection, and to say thanks  for allowing the reuse of these images under creative commons.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

ČSA Czechoslovak Airlines Route Map, c.1975: Detail of the Bratislava Hub

Continuing to view the details of the Czechoslovak Airlines route map from the 1970s, the upper-right of the pinwheel shows the airline's secondary operation at Bratislava, the Slovak capital. Prague dominated not only the "OK Network" but also nearly every other aspect of Czechoslovak public sphere, yet the expansive ČSA system granted Bratislava with an interesting variety of connections: to nearby Poprad-Tatry, via Bourgas, and a half dozen other Eastern Bloc capitals. Also Beirut and  Kuwait, rather randomly.

Cartographically, what's curious is that these destinations were all printed a second time to show a shower of routes springing forth from Bratislava. Kuwait, SofiaBucharest and Beirut are all served from Prague and shown elsewhere on the map, although more at 5 o'clock which might have made the graphics a bit convoluted. Stranger are Moscow, Kiev, and Leningrad, whose links to Prague are directly adjacent to the Bratislava point, as seen here.

Warsaw and Berlin-Helsinki (here weirdly rendered as Helsink) are at high noon, from Prague.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

ČSA Czeckoslovak Airlines Route Map, 1975: Detail of European Routes

A bit more detail on this Czechoslovak Airlines pinwheel from sometime around 1975. Looking at the inner circle, we see Prague connected to a number of European cities of both east and west, from Bucharest to Brussels to Barcelona. Tunis and Malta are looped together (as Emirates does today) and Algiers is shown as a southwestern outliner. 

See the previous post for an overview, and details of the long-haul routes. The next post will also show some detail of the upper-right side of the cartogram.

Monday, October 24, 2016

ČSA Czechoslovak Airlines Route Map, c.1975

In the hundreds of Timetablist posts in almost seven years, there have been few works of such cartographic styling as original and dynamic as this Czechoslovak Airlines route map from some time in the mid-1970s. It's pinwheel arrangement and radial design partly recall the famous Lufthansa Streckenatlas from the 1970s, and its disregard for distance recalls a contemporary Thai Airways route map. As this magnificent bullseye covers the entire globe, it will be discussed through a series of posts.

Radiating out from Prague with dissipating intensity, a pattern of straight-line routes connect four continents. Cities are arranged roughly by cardinal direction, but great liberties are taken with specific location. The innermost, darkest ring covers central Europe, while a robins-egg disc demarcates the edges of Eurasia, from London to Larnaca. The faintest, outer orb, bulging at the middle in an almost hyper-elliptical projection, is even less rigidly adherent to true geography, with Dubai, Jakarta and Montreal equidistant. 

What is perhaps most fascinating in terms of aviation history is the extraordinary extent of CSA's global reach, from Havana to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

There was a major waystation in Bombay,connecting directly from Prague and via Athens, Damascus, Larnaca and Beirut, with onward services to Jakarta, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Singapore. Kuwait and Abu Dhabi have a dedicated service from Prague, shown at sharp 3 o'clock. Note that the Cairo-Dubai operation is shown at 5 o'clock, for an extreme example of geometry over geolocation.

What is rather staggering to consider is that just one of these cities is served by Czech Airlines today.  CSA has no transatlantic routes, and flies no further than Dubai in Asia. While the late Iron-bloc regime in Prague may have had geopolitical agendas for such an expansive operation, it is still astonishing that a larger, wealthier home base can no longer support such a wide variety of long-haul services.

Friday, October 14, 2016

ČSA Czechoslovak Airlines: the African Routes, c.1970

Quite similar to the last post, this later iteration of the Czechoslovak route network is equally dense but a bit clearer. Dozens of routes fan out from Prague, across Europe, North Africa and onward to Asia and the Americas. Another web spins out from Bratislava, but these are confined to Europe. 
Geneva looks to be bypassed on the way to Casablanca, from whence the flight continues to Dakar, then apparently just to Freetown, although confusingly Conakry is shown as a dot on the route line, it's lowercase suggests it might not have been a pit stop. Additionally, dashed lines show what are likely some sort of connecting services, linking Dakar to Bamako and Freetown to Abidjan, Accra, and Lagos

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

ČSA Czechoslovak Airlines: The African Routes, 1968

Fast-forwarding nearly half a century from the last post, but still considering the long history of
ČSA Czechoslovak Airlines. Here is the carrier at its zenith, a four-continent flag carrier hoisting the socialist banner aloft across the globe. This detail from a route map, from about 1968, shows a dense network fanning out from Prague. While much of the quintessential cities of the earliest route spine remain: Belgrade, Zagreb, Warsaw, Budapest, and many more routes radiate outward from Central Europe. The red lines around Vienna and Bratislava are quite dense, clustering at Athens to continue into Asia.

Across the Mediterranean, there are non-stop flights from Ruznye to Algiers and TunisTripoli. Further east, several lines seem to spread out from Geneva, one of which continues southward to Casablanca and then onward to Dakar and Freetown. In a clear echo of Interflug's West African service featured here last month, it seems the post-colonial promises of realignment prompted a Pan-African operation from Prague. Somewhat confusingly, Monrovia, Liberia, is marked in a red circle, but the routing does not connect it. Perhaps a typo? Perhaps meant to indicate Conakry

Monday, October 10, 2016

Czechoslovak State Airline Network, 1932

Recent posts from the Eastern Bloc and the Elbe Valley remind us for this ancient item. From our records, this may be the oldest article ever featured on the Timetablist. A 1932 flight plan for the Czechoslovak State Airline, the earliest ancestor of CSA, in one of its first years of operation.

Several spider webs of spindly routes spread outward over the toast-brown landscape, from the main base at Prague, but also Vienna, Munich, Berlin, Warsaw and Venice. It's possible that the airline's own operations were merely those marked by the thicker line: Karlovy Vary—PragueBrnoBratislavaZagreb and Bratislava—KošiceClujBucharest. A dozen other secondary cities are shown, it's unclear who, in these early days of aviation, was operating these routes. 

What looks to almost certainly be a Ford Tri-Motor tilts its way over Trieste in a tangerine dawn. Czechoslovak Air is listed as an operator on the craft's Wikipedia page

Sadly, this aviation pioneer was short-lived, as the Sudetenland annexation was barely eight years away from the publication of this literature. CSA would be resurrected in the post-war era, as we shall see in the following posts. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Tunisair: The Routes from Germany, Summer 2015

Last month turned into quite a curation of Germanic aviation, and the Timetablist archives still yield a few more items along the same theme to start this month.

Tunisair published this table in the summer of 2015 specifically for its German-speaking and German-located customers. The chart details the Tunisian flag carrier's array of services from multiple German gateways to multiple destinations in Tunisia. The flights were operated with narrow-bodied B737s and A320s (which is all Tunisair had up until recently). Most flights to Tunisia were to the capital, Tunis, and most were originating from Frankfurt, with a daily flight in each direction. There were also frequent series from Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Munich and Berlin Schönefeld to Tunis, Enfidha and Djerba–the latter two airports, gateways to the famed Mediterranean beaches of Tunisia, mostly connected on weekend leisure schedules. This post is the first time that Enfidha has been featured on the Timetablist.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Air France CityJet: Fly Direct from Dresden to the Heart of London, August 2013.

The Interflug posts earlier this week made mention of Dresden, at the time one of East Germany's secondary industrial areas, and one of all of Germany's most beautiful cities. 

Today, its airport is quite small, and generally has more leisure services to the Mediterranean than to the commercial capitals of Europe. For a brief time, CityJet, operating a wet-lease commuter operation on behalf of Air France, operated a London City Airport service on a BAe146. Sadly the service did not last. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Interflug: Winter Timetable, 1975-76, Part 2

Continuing from the last post, more facsimile fun from the back pages of the Interflug timetable for November 1975 to March 1976. Everything is out of Berlin in this case, and what might be most remarkable are the infrequency of services: barely more than once per day to next door Warsaw, and about four times per week Bucharest and the Yugoslav run to ZagrebBelgrade as well as Sofia, with once per week to the Black Sea resort town of Varna. On top, the Czechoslovak services show some variety, especially fun is the once weekly Tu-134 landing at the Carpathian ski resort of Poprad-Tatry, a premier feature on the Timetablist. 

Further down the sheet is the long, once-weekly pan Asia flight to North Vietnam via Moscow, Tashkent, Karachi and Dhaka. At lower left is the now well-known Berlin—AlgiersBamakoFreetownConakry twice weekly operations, and at the grand finale is the twice-weekly hop over the Iron Curtain, northward to Helsinki.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Interflug Timetable, Winter 1975-76, Part 1

The unscheduled discovery of this Interflug memorial website has gotten us sidetracked in reviewing its treasures. This post celebrates the first half of a photocopy-palletted schedule from November 1975 to March 1976 for routes within Europe and the Middle East, as well as the single transatlantic route, the historically curious twice-weekly BerlinGanderHavana service, which probably didn't ferry the freezing Newfoundlanders to sunny Cuba on the way. 

Other flights follow from previously-posted material of earlier years: one of the Iron Curtain spines in the latticework, the BerlinLeipzigErfurtBudapestTirana operation is shown at top, and below it one-off flights to the free world: Milan, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Vienna. Shown below is the all-important to Moscow and Leningrad. The largest box shows four weekly operations to the Near East: to Cairo, to Beirut, and DamascusBaghdad

The next post shows the remaining pages of the schedule. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Interflug Route Network, 1970

Double-checking some dates and details from the last post sent Timetablist to this website, with a treasure-trove of Interfluginalia, including this gracefully fluid route map, as the East German state carrier gently jets across the Second and Third Worlds.

The Warsaw pact capitals are well represented, such as Warsaw itself, but also including the smaller cities such as Tirana and Zagreb. Past the Iron Curtain, some non-aligned and socialist states of the Arab world are served, such as the Nicosia-Damascus-Baghdad route and the Cairo-Khartoum connection. The dashed lines and double-M metro sign perhaps indicate regional rail connections; secondary airports of the DDR, namely Dresden and Erfurt, are connected to Budapest, from whence it appears, reading the threading of the route lines correctly, that flights continue onward on the famous Algiers-Bamako-Conakry-Freetown journey. Almost everything else is out of Schönefeld.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Interflug: Berlin-Conakry, November 1966

It seems fitting to conclude this month's coverage of the recent state of affairs in Berlin to feature this vintage item, which recalls the postings of the earliest days of the Timetablist, far back in 2009. A first day cover from the DDR post celebrating the socialist Germany's reach to the verdant shores of West Africa, feverish with post-colonial realignment. As was shown in some of the first Timetablist posts, Interflug carried the Marxist dream far into equatorial Africa at the roaring clip of its sleek, quad-propulsion IL-62 jets on a variety of bi-weekly Schönefeld—AlgiersBamakoConakryFreetown arrangements, although the above launch was more likely on the four-prop IL-18.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Lufthansa: Lost Destinations from the Summer of 2012

For space considerations, the other (non-Russian) worldly destinations that have lost their Lufthansa patronage since 2012 have been cordoned into this separate post. There are three continents hosting less Lufthansa than before, but the only mainline European city that is out is tiny Trondheim, Norway (a first for the Timetablist here), which was curiously served once a week by an aging B737-400.

Asia has been particularly affected: the long-haul connections to Jakarta (via Singapore) and Kuala Lumpur  (via Bangkok) could consistently work. More recently, Lufthansa has lost out to the Gulf three, and curtailed its dedicated flight to Abu Dhabi, and truncated the Muscat extension of its Frankfurt-Riyadh flights (although LX243, the Zürich-Dubai-Muscat connection on SWISS listed here, still operates today).

More dire but less surprising are the loss of further African services: no news that Tripoli has been abandoned, and Pointe-Noire's petrol-club PrivatAir B737-800 service via Libreville had its run, but less happy the abandonment of once-promising Asmara and long-served Khartoum, surely and sadly uneconomic nowadays.  Also, lamentably, Caracas has likewise sunk into a less-viable abyss and receives fewer and fewer international airlines.  Lufthansa closed down its Venezuelan outpost in May this year. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Lufthansa: The Lost Russian Service, Summer 2012

Related to the post from last week about the withdrawal of Aeroflot's flights from Berlin-Tegel, the archival stacks of the Timetablist revealed a near-vintage item of relevance: a Lufthansa Systemwide Timetable from June-October 2012, graphically executed in the neat, straightforward Teutonic presentation that is classic Lufthansa—but issued only as a PDF instead of a bulkier booklet, a customer (and aviation nerd) service that, somewhat amazingly, Lufthansa still provides on its website

Although just four years old, the reference in the Timetablist library features over a dozen destinations that have since been terminated. In particular, Lufthansa has retreated remarkably from Russia, a zone it made great efforts to penetrate in the 1990s and 2000s. Relatedly included: LH's lost service from Munich to Donetsk, the metropolitan area of 2 million in eastern Ukraine which is now self-proclaimed as independent, which caused Lufthansa to withdraw in 2014. A year earlier, the thrice-weekly Frankfurt-Perm-Kazan operation was closed and then separately Yekaterinburg was dropped in December due to lack of profitability. 

While several major non-Russian carriers still serve many of these airports—notably Turkish Airlines, which overtook Lufthansa to become now the largest foreign carrier in Russia—the disappearance of Lufthansa from secondary centers in Russia is an undeniable loss of prestige for these cities, and an evident effect of the decline of Russia's political and commercial ties with Germany. 2012 might not be that long ago, but much has changed. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Long-Haul Destinations from Berlin, Summer 2015

Like many a good German airport company, the management of Berlin Tegel issues a printed timetable for traveler's reference. As we conclude the present series of posts on operations at Tegel in the Summer of 2015, this map offers an appropriate conclusion. 

There are two many cities here to feature in one or even two posts, and it is not particularly noteworthy that the German capital is connected to some three dozen other cities across Europe. This week we have, however, discussed a bit about the somewhat peculiar circumstances of Berlin's commercial air transportation, still divided between multiple airports, awaiting the long-delayed opening of its 21st century hub.

In the meantime, tiny Tegel, something of the LaGuardia of central Europe, squeezes in only a handful of long-hual flights, in part due to the city's dispersion of air traffic and in part due to the 
centralization of airline operations around Lufthansa's Frankfurt megahub and Munich base. 

Hometown carrier Air Berlin does the city some good turns, particularly the high-prestige widebody services to New York JFK and Chicago O'Hare. United offers the only US Flag appearance, with its 767 flights to Newark (although these are sometimes ignominiously downgraded to narrow body 757s in the winter). Delta Air Lines just announced this month that it will soon return to Tegel, which is symbolically important as Tegel was such an important base for Pan-Am's intra-Europe operations that Delta inherited. Air Berlin also flies to Reykjavík-Keflavík and a number of warm-weather leisure destinations. 

Perhaps more interesting are the handful of airlines connecting eastward to Asia. Azerbaijan Airlines was just recently featured here, and Qatar Airways scored a coup when it beat out Emirates for service to the Gulf—although Etihad snuck in through its ownership stake in Air Berlin, which flies non-stop to Abu Dhabi. Iraqi Airways makes for more fun planespotting, flying to both Erbil and Baghdad. This post is the first time we've featured the Iraqi flag carrier. 

Hainan Airlines added Berlin to its European system in 2012 along with Brussels and Budapest, and connects to Beijing with a A330-200 (rather than one of its Dreamliners). But what is surely the most unusual airline landing in Reinickendorf is MIAT Mongolian Airlines, which has actually long-served Berlin, landing its A310s at Schönefeld since at least the late 1990s. The Mongolian flag carrier currently operates one its gorgeously painted B767-300s via Moscow Sheremetyevo airport, and this post marks its premier on the Timetablist.  Although the airline also flies twice-weekly non-stop to Frankfurt, and once served Prague, Berlin is one its only European gateways. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Air Berlin: Berlin to Chicago and New York, July 2015

A last item in the series of box-light billboard adverts at Berlin Tegel last summer: one of the undoubted pride of the German capital's operations, the hometown Air Berlin's widebody non-stops to Chicago and New York JFK. As mentioned earlier this week, Berlin has somewhat curious commercial aviation arrangements. These reflect in turn, the situation in the largely decentralized Germany as a whole, for that matter, where the dominant flag-carrier Lufthansa somewhat underserves large metro areas like Hamburg and the Rhein-Ruhr by concentrating a classic hub-and-spoke system in all-powerful Frankfurt and the highly-important but rather out-of-the-way Munich. This leaves the country's largest urban center and unquestionably one of the most important capitals of Europe with only a handful of long-haul options. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Aeroflot: From Berlin to Asia via Moscow, July 2015

Elsewhere in the under-sized spaces of Berlin Tegel's main terminal A, hang a few banner adverts affixed to the ceiling. Here, Aeroflot tailors its offerings to the passengers below: given the chronic and increasingly dire under capacity of the diminutive Tegel, and the scandalously, incessantly delayed opening of Berlin-Brandenburg, there are surprisingly few long-haul options for travelers from the capital of Europe's largest economy.

Here, the Russian flag carrier boasts of an easy connection to far-flung destinations in east Asia: Hanoi, Phuket and Beijing (here showing how the Germans still say Peking), for example, all via Moscow Sheremetyevo. The campaign might not have been as successful as expected, as currently Aeroflot only serves Schönefeld, just adjacent to Berlin's perennial airport-of-the-future, which may never open.