New Delhi: A commercial Airbus plane made a successful landing on the white continent of Antarctica for the first time in history. One of the company’s A340 planes touched down on an ice runway earlier this month, paving the way for more tourism on the frozen landmass.
The crew of Hi Fly 801 (and its return trip to Cape Town, Hi Fly 802) was led by Captain Carlos Mirpuri, who is also Hi Fly’s vice president.
According to the aircraft’s pilot, Captain Carlos Mirpuri “the A340 took off on the morning of November 2 from Cape Town, South Africa before flying 2,500 nautical miles (4,630 km) to Antarctica. It then achieved aviation first by successfully landing on a runway made of “blue glacial ice”.
As per the reports, the historic flight was operated by Hi Fly, a boutique aviation company, and was chartered by Wolf’s Gang luxury adventure camp. The aircraft will be used this season to fly a small number of tourists, alongside scientists and cargo to the icy continent.
There was “attention and anxiety” in the cockpit as the 190-tonne plane approached the runway in Antarctica.
Captain Mirpuri elaborated on how the runway had to have special grooves carved into it to allow for more friction as the aircraft landed, which would have otherwise slipped down the icy course due to its heavy supply cargo.
Mirpuri and the rest of the A340’s crew managed to land safely and they took less than three hours to deliver all of the cargo, reports suggested.
Hi Fly, a boutique aviation company, was behind the flight. The company specializes in wet leases, which means they hire out both aircraft and air crew and are responsible for handling insurance, maintenance and other logistics.