Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pan Am's West Africa Routes, c.1962

Before both Blogger and the Omega Tower came crashing down, I think I was blathering on about arcane details of Liberia's aviation. So let me continue with this: a detail of a golden-hued, wall-covering route map of Pan Am's global operations. Printed around 1962, it originally adorned the backwall of a check-in counter or ticket office at one of the airline's global offices. In the early sixties, Liberia was entering its Golden Age of the post-war Open Door era, and in concert with this prosperity and Cold War cooperation, Pan American's base at Robertsfield was growing to prominence.

The map shows the route from New York Idlewild to Roberts International via Dakar, which continued on to Accra, Lagos, and Nairobi (and perhaps Entebbe and Dar Es Salaam); a second trans-Saharan route from Europe via Rabat, Morocco reached the Guinea coast at Conakry, connecting at RIA, and then continuing on to Abidjan, Cotonou and Douala. A third leg from Lagos stretched down to Leopoldville, terminating at Johannesburg.

From the 1960s to the 1980s, the majority of Pan American passengers to Africa passed through Robertsfield, which Pan Am managed under contract from the Ministry of Transport. Even to this day, the RIA logo mark is a modified Pan Am globe emblem (below).

In the early 1980s, Pan Am had a weekly nonstop from JFK to RIA, but in the following years pulled down its African network, ending its service to Liberia in 1986, and ceasing operations in 1991. I've got half a dozen of these old Pan Am maps as well as other ephemera of RIA history in the M2M collection, so I'll keep posting these periodically.


Maturecheese said...

I flew on Pan Am from Monrovia via Dakar to NY in the summer of 1976. I wish I knew what variant of 707 it was.

Maturecheese said...

Seems it could have been a DC-8, I was young at the time

Maturecheese said...

Re my last comment about not knowing whether it was a DC-8 or 707, I came across this on another forum.

"the flight was operated by DC8 and changed to B707 in late 1968". So in 1976 it was as I suspected a 707.

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