For The First Time In History, Pilot Lands Commercial Airbus Plane In Antarctica

Photo: Marc Bow / Hi Fly
Grooves had to be carved into the landing strip in order to provide extra grip to the Airbus A340.

A commercial Airbus A340 landed on Antarctica's icy territory for the first time in history. A seven-minute clip of the historic touchdown is now being circulated online.
Photo: Marc Bow / Hi Fly
Pilot Carlos Mirpuri and his crew started the 4,506-km journey from Cape Town in South Africa on 2nd November. It took over five hours to reach the destination.

The crew is employed with Hi-Fly, a boutique aviation company that hires out both aircraft and aircrew. They even handle maintenance, logistics, and insurance, according to a CNN report.
Photo: Marc Bow / Hi Fly
The landing was possible due to months of preparation, said the pilot. He added that the day turned out to be a long one for the crew but the anticipation of being involved in such a historic event kept them motivated.

Pilot Mirpuri said the trip brought a lot of anxiety and fear despite meticulous preparation. The trip was eventually chartered by Wolf's Fang, a luxury holiday resort that had been founded in the South Pole.

Photo: Marc Bow / Hi Fly
Grooves had to carved into the makeshift 10,000-ft runway in Antarctica before the landing. This was done to give the Airbus enough grip to land without the risk of sliding away.

"It is an airplane that delivers, every time. Robust, comfortable, and safe, performs well in this environment," said Mirpuri.

But there were more challenges. Mirpuri said the 'white desert' runway had blended with the surrounding terrain before the landing, making the descent particularly challenging. Fortunately for the crew, everything went according to plan.
Photo: Marc Bow / Hi Fly
"We flew a textbook approach to an uneventful landing, and aircraft performed exactly as planned. When we reached taxi speed, I could hear a round of applause from the cabin. We were joyful. After all, we were writing history," said the pilot.

As the journey was an overwhelming success, the Airbus A340 can now be chartered to fly a small group of tourists to the white continent along with experts and scientists. They can even carry cargo.

However, there are no airports in Antarctica currently. Watch video:

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