The A340 aircraft has landed in Antarctica for the first time in history, said the Portuguese airline Hi Fly, which organized the flight. “Landing on the ice runway required a completely different approach,” said machine captain Carlos Mirpuri. According to foreign media, the landing of a passenger plane on this continent may result in increased tourist traffic in Antarctica in the future.
The Airbus A340 aircraft departed from Cape Town, South Africa on November 22. After five hours of flight, the crew, headed by the captain and vice president of the line Hi Fly Carlos Mirpuri, landed on the runway in Antarctica. According to the British “Independent”, members of the Wolf’s Fang camp, a center run by a company that organizes tourist trips to Antarctica, were on board the machine. – The first time an Airbus A340 has landed in Antarctica. It will go down in history – said the pilot to his crewmates after landing. This was recorded on a video that the Reuters agency released on Saturday.
– Landing on the ice runway required a completely different approach to this mission. First of all, there is no ground handling equipment here. This means that the engines cannot be started with the external power unit, said Captain Mirpuri.
The future of commercial flights to Antarctica
The A340 “is capable of this mission”, he added. We have enough fuel to land and head back to Cape Town. Of course, there are many concerns about this flight, as there are no landing guidance systems, no navigational aids, so you basically land manually on a very long runway built on a glacier. The only markings we have are those marking the edges of the runway, its beginning and end, the sills and the touchdown zone – he explained.
“Independent” pointed out that in the future, similar flights could be used to transport tourists and scientists to research stations.
The website of the American broadcaster CNN pointed out that most people reach Antarctica by sea. No airport has been built on the mainland so far. There are only about 50 runways and smaller landing sites. The sight of the A340 landing on a glacier runway could mean there will be more landings in the future, CNN wrote.
Independent, Reuters, CNN
Main photo source: Reuters / Hi Fly / Marc Bow / Speedstream Films