Those who are already accustomed to the SB-scaled Koko AU might probably know that it involves reciprocal akcnowledgement of the Thiarian and Recherchean AUs, respectively made by Garlicdesign and Rowdy36. While the general world history has its own uniqueness in our own timelines, all three Alternat Universes share the existence of the two other nations other than our own. A sort of "homage" we did to each other.
In this particular regard each of us indipendently also gave an airline to its AU nation, beign it in a more or less in depth manner: Garlic was the first, with his excellent Atlantach thread a few years ago. I'll never refrain from pointing out that without his aviation thread, this particular topic would have probably never existed. (And I would so encourage you guys to give him some more recognition by taking a look at the Atlantach
series, which enjoyed a recent update of the airbus fleet to the latest blanks).
Some mentions of Rowdy's AU airlines came around the same time. Of it I remember two planes: an SB-scale A330 presented during the SB-world cup event, and a regional turboprop model -the HAe HC-120- posted in his FD Recherche thread.
Of the three I came last, and today I've completed a paritcular homage for Rowdy's Recherche by featuring the Recherchean Flag carrier: Archipelago Airlines.
Mind that this is my vision of Archipelago for the Kokoverse, Rowdy might still come up with a different Archipelago airlines for his own AU somehous and someday. I maintained the livery that appeared on the SB A330 and FD HC-120 (now shallowed by the dropbox folder issue) and tried to imagine how the airline would have grown. To give myself an idea, I've loosely used TAA, Ansett and Qantas as references, other than varying things a bit by featuring aircrafts that I had neglected in other AU airlines.
also, the collection does not cover the entire lifespan of Recherche flag carrier, but only those models which ended up sporting it latest livery (which is also the only one drawn by Rowdy).
Recherche's flag carrier was formed in late 1945, during the final days of World War Two, to serve some small destination in the southwestern end of the island chain. A first attempt to return to normality as the frontlines slowly got far away. In its first months of operation Archipelago owned two DC-3, but services already increased by the year's end with the addition of surplus military airframes of the Hale Seabreeze -five- and Hale Galestorm -three- types. Archipelago then exponentially expanded after The pacific War finally and officially ended in September 1946. By turing into civilian service dozens od military C-47s Archipelago grew to over 40 marchines in a couple of years, operating forty-one DC-3s at its peak, soon augmented by 9 douglas DC-4 and 6 Lockheed-Constellation that covered routes to Australia and Indonesia. Six more factory built civilian Hale Galestroms were also added to the fleet. The 1950s saw the introduction of new aircraft types for the domestic market, with twelve Viscounts and thirteen L-188s replacing the Seabreeze, Galestorms and some DC-3s in service. Sixteen Lockeed-Super Constellation superseeded their older siblings on the long-haul market. Yet, the real game changer was the introduction of the DC-8-10 (seven airframes) in 1959 and its long-range variant DC-8-50 in 1961 (30 in service by 1966), which allowed Archipelago Airlines to double its international network and became a prime player in the Indian Ocean air travel routes. More DC-3s were retired from 1962 with the introduction of the sturdy Fokker F-27 (14 bought, plus another six of the stretched series -500 added later), while the delivery of the first Boeing 727-100 in 1967 marked the beginning of a grand retiring for all old piston and turboprop planes that the airline was still operating domestically. With the 727 fleet reaching 26 machines, plus another seventeen B727-200s delivered during the 70s, the DC-4 was withdtrawin in 1970, the viscount in 1971, the DC-3 in 1974 and the L-188 in 1976, leaving the Fokkers as the only prop-driven model in the carrier roster.
To further boost long-haul routes, sixteen of the huge 747-200 were delivered between 1971 and 1975. Twenty-four Lockheed l-1011Tristar (twelve of the -100 and twelve of the -500 series) followed in the late 70's and early 80's, completely replacing the DC-8 fleet. Archipelago also bought seven short range L-1011-1 to serve high-density domestic routes. The late 80s and early 90s saw another large fleet renewal. Boeing 737s replaced the 727s, B767s superseeded the older Tristars and the 747-200 was retired in favour of its newer sibling, the -400. The domestic-built HC-120 replaced the F-27 under subsidiary Archipelago Regional, which had been established in 1986.
Starting in 1995, Archipelago became a loyal Airbus customer by buying some A321-100 for domestic service. Deliveries from the European manufacturer followed with the A330-300 in 1996, the A340-300 in 1998, the A320-200 and A330-200 in 2000. During the last decade Archipelago airlines has started the retirement of its old machines as well: The last Tristar-500 left the fleet in 2009, the 767 in 2013 and the 737 in 2014. The last 747-400 is planned to be withdrawn in 2018, which will leave Archipelago mainline ans an All-Airbus fleet. At the same time, more Airbuses are joining, with the ultra-long-range A340-500 first delivered in 2008, the A321-200 in 2011, the A380 in 2014 and -latest addition- the A350-900 in 2016.
Currently, Archipelago Airlines operates a fleet of 233 mainline aircrafts, plus HC-120 tuboprops for regional service. And has on order 14 A320neos, 18 A330neos, 7 A350-900 and 10 A350-1000.
The airline is also known for its stellar safety record, it has suffered no passenger fatality since 1976 (the only other occurence being in 1965), and never lost a jet aircraft in passenger service.
1945-1949 Hale Seabreeze (5)
1945-1952 Hale Galestorm (9)
1945-1974 DC-3 (41)
1947-1959 Lockheed constellation (6)
1949-1970 DC-4 (9)
1954-1971 Vickers Viscount (12)
1954-1963 Lockheed Super Constellation (16)
1959-1976 l-188 electra (13)
1959-1968 DC-8-10 (7)
1961-1979 DC-8-50 (30)
1962-1986 F-27-200 (14)
1967-1990 B-727-100 (26)
1970-1986 F-27-500 (6)
1971-1992 B-747-200 (16)
1973-1993 B-727-200 (17)
1976-1994 L-1011-100 (12)
1980-2009 L-1011-500 (12)
1981-2000 L-1011-1 (7)
1985-2005 B-767-200ER (10)
1986-2006 B-737-300 (25)
1988-2013 B-767-300ER (22)
1989-2014 B-737-400 (24)
1989-2018 B-747-400 (30, 3 in service)
1995-2015 A321-100 (6)
1996-on A330-300 (24, all in service)
1998-on A340-300 (13, 12 in service)
2000-on A320-200 (85, all in service)
2000-on A330-200 (44, all in service)
2008-on A340-500 (12, all in service)
2014-on A380-800 (8, all in service)
2015-on A321-200 (32, all in service)
2016-on A350-900 (13, all in service)
1986-1992 F-27-200 (12)
1986-1997 F-27-500 (6)
1992-on HC-120 (42, all in service)
Archipelago introduced the 747 in scheduled service in 1971, sixteen of the -200 series were delivered in the early 70s to serve long-haul flights. The type was retired in the early 90s when a strong fleet of 30 747-400s was introduced. The retirement of the -200s was planned to be more gradual, but the spike in fuel prices caused by the gulf war prompted their quick withdrawal. The 747-400 formed the backbone of Archipelago Airlines international fleet until the late 2000s. Retirement of the type started in 2012, and currenlty only three of the 30 747 are left in service, all scheduled to be stored in 2018.
Archipelago operated a combined fleet of 31 tristars at its peak in the 80s, the largest of such machines outside the United States. It comprised twelve each of the long-range L-1011-100 and L-1011-500, and seven short-range L-1011-1s for domestic high-density routes. Most of the L-1011-100 were retired as a consequence of the gulf war spike in fuel prices, and the L-1011-1 were replaced by A330-300s in the late 90s. The L-1011-500 survived incredibly longer: while three units were retired in 2002, the other nine survived to 2005, with the last airframe leaving the fleet only in 2009, replaced by the A330-200.
Once the Tristar went out of production, Archipelago bought the 767-200ER and 767-300ER for its thinner long-range routes that did not warrant the 747 capacity. Ten 200s were delivered in 1985/87 and 22 -300s in 1988/1994, the latter also offsetting the retirement of the L-1011-100. After they fulfilled their service, Archipelago 767s were retired and replaced by A330-200 and A330-300s: the 767-200ER were retired in 2002-2005, the 767-300ER between 2011 and 2013.
Replacement of the older 727, Archipelago put in service 25 B737-300 in 1986/89 and 24 B737-400 in 1989/93. Just like the 767s they were replaced by Airbus machines at the end of their career. The 737-300s were withdrawn in 2004/2006 with A320-200s taking their place, the 737-400 was replaced by both A-320-200 and A321-200 in 2010/2014.
This domestic built turboprop was acquired through a massive 42-airframe order placed in 1990 for renewal and expansion of the airline regional division. Deliveries of the HC-120 started in 1992, with 22 placed into service by 1996 to replace the older fleet of Fokker F-27s. Deliveries resumed in 1998 and lasted until 2005 when the backlog was finally emptied. Archipelago is currently negotiating with HAe for a new order of twenty-five of the updated HC-120-300 to replace the older machines in the fleet.
Current mainstay of the domestic fleet, the A320 family began service with Recherche's flag carrier in 1995/96, when six A321-100s were delivered to the airline to bolster capacity on domestic routes. 33 A320-200s followed in 2001/2003, with two more batches of 26 each following in 2005/2008 and 2011/2013 for a total of 85 machines in service. While the six original A321-100s were retired in 2015, the narrowbody fleet grew with the delivery of no less than 32 A321-200s between 2011 and 2015, giving the airline a combined 117-strong fleet of narrowbodies. In addition to them, fourteen more airframes (10 A320neo and 4 A321neo) are currently on order.
With sixty-eight in service, Archipelago airlines is the world largest operator of the A330, the fleet split between 44 of the long-range A330-200 and 24 of the stretched A330-300. The stretched -300 was delivered first, with ten recieved in 1996/2000 and another 14 in 2003/2005 and it serves mainly on domestic high-density routes with a few shorter international ones. The longer-range and shorter -200 was first delivered in 2000/2003 with 16 airframes, five more followed in discontinous order in 2006/2010. Lately an impressive 23 machines were delivered almost at once in 2013/2015, replacing both the 767-300ER and some 747-400. Archipelago's fleet of A330s is planned to grow even further once the 14 Neos on order (4 A330-800 and 10 A330-900) are delivered.
Delivered between 1998 and 2001, the airline 13 A340-300 expanded the international fleet on routes previously served exclusively by the 747. Further twelve machines of the ultra-long range A340-500 followed in 2008/2011, making the airline the largest operator of this type worldwide. The A340-500 replaced Archipelago's 747 on the longest routes, with the 747s in turn covering the final retirement of the L-1011-500s. Currently, one of the A340-300s has been stored after a maintenance mishaps and is beign used for spare parts, the other -300s are planned to be retired starting in 2019 and replaced by some of the A330neos and A350s on order. there are no plans to retire the A340-500 yet.
Archipelago ordered eight A380 double-deckers in 2012 to replace the boeing 747-400 on its most prestigious routes (Sidney, London, Toumachi, Los angeles, New York) and act as the airline new long-haul flagship. Deliveries were fulfilled in 2014/2015. The airline retains four further options for the type, but it is unclear ifthey will be turned into new firm orders or not.
The A350-900 is the most recent addition to the fleet of Archipelago Airlines, with the first machine entering service in 2016. Currently 13 have been delivered, with 7 more on order. The newest Airbus twinjet is replacing the last 747s still in service. 10 more airframes of the stretched A350-1000 version are on order as well.