Boeing 757 makes icy smooth landing at Union Glacier runway

December 6, 2015

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In today’s world it has never been easier to travel anywhere on Earth. (And out of it.) Anyone can go anywhere at any time.

Recently on November 26, 2015, history was made in one of the hidden corners of the globe when a Loftleidir Icelandic Boeing 757 successfully landed on Union Glacier’s blue ice runway. While cargo and military jets have successfully been using the runway for years, this is the first time for a commercial plane to land there.

The Union Glacier's runway is made up of dense and intensely blue glacier ice. The blue glacier ice is formed when snow falls onto glaciers and gets compacted down which recrystallizes.  Commercial passenger planes have not landed there, because of the lack of a tarmac.

Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions (ALE), Loftleidir Icelandic and NAS Corporation Limited have been planning this expedition for seven months. The flight "was undertaken to prove the feasibility of landing commercial passenger airliners at Union Glacier," the airline said.

ALE is expecting to transport 500 visitors a season and make Antarctica a most sought after tourist destination. The airline is planning to fit a Boeing 757 with 62 business class seats; possibly targeting wealthier clientele to explore one of the last remaining wildernesses and frontiers on Earth.

IMG_3412_Tim_Hewette_ALE UNION-GLACIER-CAMP-7-1-RHepburn_800 IMG_3441_Tim_Hewette_ALE

 

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