In this age of modern air travel, it is relatively easy for anyone with the means to book a flight to almost any corner of the Earth. Unless that corner is Antarctica, a place where you cannot simply pave a runway and start landing planes. In Antarctic locations such as Union Glacier, the runway is blue ice: dense, intensely blue glacier ice formed when snow falls onto glaciers, gets compacted and recrystallizes.
But commercial jets are making progress — and the Icelandic airline Loftleidir landed the first Boeing 757 on the blue ice runway at Union Glacier on Thursday.
The flight “was undertaken to prove the feasibility of landing commercial passenger airliners at Union Glacier,” the airline said.
“ALE is researching the potential for utilizing conventional passenger airliners in addition to passenger/cargo combination aircraft,” according to a blog post from ALE subsidiary Adventure Network International. “The Boeing 757-200 ER, fitted with 62 business class seats, will enhance passenger comfort yet maintain the safety of ALE’s activities and aircraft resources.” Read more…