An aircraft landing in Antarctica isn’t anything new—cargo or military planes regularly make trips to the ice-covered continent. But commercial flights—they never made the trip. That was until recently.
The purpose of the flight, which was organized by ALE, Icelandic Airlines, and NAS Corporation Limited, was to test the possibility of landing commercial airliners at Union Glacier. ALE will take the lessons learned from the historic flight and apply it to its research regarding the feasibility of flying passenger airliners to Antarctica with consistency.
ALE takes passengers and cargo from Punta Arena, Chile to its Union Glacier camp using cargo aircraft that it knows perform well in Antarctica’s harsh conditions. On average, it transports 400-500 passengers to Antarctica each season. An aircraft like the 62 seat Boeing 757-200 ER, would give ALE a flight option that is a bit more traditional and comfortable. ALE believes that by offering more aircraft options, its business would become even safer and more environmentally responsible because it would be increasing its evacuation capabilities
ALE claims to have accomplished several other aviation firsts in Antarctica, including becoming the first company to develop an inland, blue-ice airfield on the continent.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense