Ok, first things first, Liberia is not made up of mostly freed American slaves. Yes the capital is named after President Monroe (hence Monrovia), and yes the flag was modeled after the American flag, and yes the country was founded by freed American slaves, but umm, there were already native Africans living there when the free slaves arrived from America, and they were and still are the majority of the population. BTW, Zambia Airways used to fly Lusaka-Monrovia-New York with a DC-10 back in the late 80's/early 90's.
Secondly, the AT
flight that was diverted was a 767 and not a 744 (AT stopped flying the 744 to JFK
after 9-11, mainly because they had to axe the Montreal segment, seeing as all passengers would have to get out at JFK
, clear immigration/customs and board the aircraft again for Montreal, same thing happened on the return flight from YUL
). The Montreal segment, which is now flown directly from CMN was a huge money earner, Royal Air Maroc really used to fill up those planes. I remember, the folks in YUL
would load up the plane with non-revs from Montreal, and by the time it got to JFK
, there were no seats for the revenue passengers, huge nightmare, but that 744 used to go out full every time, especially during Ramadan. These days, the 767 averages around 80 passengers during the off peak season, not very great load at all.
Now back to the original topic, seems to me that security and economics play perhaps the biggest role in determining why no U.S. carriers currently fly to Africa. I think that any check of the FAA rating of African airports will show that the majority of them do not meet U.S. security regulations. And as for economics, with code shares, its simply more feasible to use someones elses metal than to send your own. As for that whole colonial legacy, it was Europe that had without a doubt the largest colonial presence in Africa, and it should come as no surprise that they maintain a dominant presence there.