Arctic And Antarctic Great Circle Routes

Sat Jun 10, 2000 11:40 pm

Now that Cathay is beginning to operate the great circle route from Hong Kong to Toronto and Chicago without the need of a technical stop at Anchorage, does anybody know that any other airline is beginning to do this route? I think cities in Scandinavia, like Oslo, Helsinki etc. towards Anchorage or Fairbanks or western USA & Canada could use this route. (The only problem would be passenger load...   )

And, what about the Antarctic great circle route? This might work for any routes between Australia/NZ and South America, perhaps Ushuaia, Buenos Aires, Santiago etc.

What's your idea?
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RE: Arctic And Antarctic Great Circle Routes

Sun Jun 11, 2000 1:31 am

Qantas and Aerolineas already operate routes from buenos aires to australia via the south pole  , and i think american airlines is trying to get transpolar routes from chicago and dfw to hong kong. does that help?
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RE: Arctic And Antarctic Great Circle Routes

Sun Jun 11, 2000 1:35 am

One current problem is air traffic control, particularly over Russian airspace. Recently I have read several newspaper articles on the subject, and these problems are being worked on to help develop the routes in the future.

Also, I believe at this time the CX flights on YYZ-HKG is only exploratory.

ETOPS could also be a problem in the high arctic.
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RE: CNN Today!

Sun Jun 11, 2000 1:42 am

CNN has a report in it's travel section (I think) about the new polar routes being opened by Canada(?) and Russia. (I don't know why they said Canada, maybe they meant China? - that's CNN for you). Anyway, apart from not noticing the slight difference between Canada and China*, they did point out that there are very significant time savings on flights, for example between JFK and HKG and DTW and PEK. The time between JFK and HKG would be reduced from 17 to about 12 hours!

(*Of course, you'd notice if there were 1b Chinese north of the border!)
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RE: CNN Today!

Sun Jun 11, 2000 1:46 am

The polar routes will be opened by Canada and Russia because they fly over the airspace of these two countries.

RE: Arctic And Antarctic Great Circle Routes

Sun Jun 11, 2000 2:06 am

Which AC´s are used by Cathay for these flight´s ? B747, A340 or both ?
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RE: Arctic And Antarctic Great Circle Routes

Sun Jun 11, 2000 2:31 am

Has anyone seen the new Airbus adverts in the glossy magazines (such as the Economist)? They are making a big play of the fact that the A340 can fly over the poles without any ETOPS restrictions. They have an amusing pun about pengiun's not being able to fly (or something like that...).

RE: Arctic And Antarctic Great Circle Routes

Sun Jun 11, 2000 3:59 am

NW DTW-SHA (Pu Dong)

I flew both of tehse direct over the N pole. It rocked!


RE: Arctic And Antarctic Great Circle Routes

Sun Jun 11, 2000 4:05 am

All airlines are allowed to fly over the northpole without restrictions beginning July 1. It was on CNN  
Samurai 777
Posts: 2000
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2000 2:56 pm

RE: Arctic And Antarctic Great Circle Routes

Sun Jun 11, 2000 4:24 am

As far as I can remember, although Russian airspace has been cleared for most transpolar routes, the real problem lies in the ATC technology and lack of crew training in English. (Russians do take up English as a part of their school education, but the ATC staff need to know fairly fluent English to communicate with Western pilots effectively). The situation is similar in China. Also, Kamchatka and the coastal area around the Sea of Okhotsk are prime military testing areas for stuff like missiles, making it potentially hazardous. Magadan, Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky have major Russian military bases, especially for the air force and naval forces, so I wouldn't surprised if they still do quite a bit of military testing despite cutbacks. Not to mention some restricted airspace for that reason. Canada's not bad, but Ottawa's been a little wary of allowing foreign carriers to overfly the high Canadian Arctic in the past, I believe, and it wants to work out airspace fees, as I've heard. But, still, it's paving the way for more new polar routes.

All this means that it'll take time for transpolar routes to really work to make them profitable enough for airlines. After all, transpolar routes are supposed to save fuel and costs, possibly resulting in lower airfares, according to the airlines.
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RE: Arctic And Antarctic Great Circle Routes

Mon Jun 12, 2000 2:32 am

Finnair used to fly transpolar routes to Japan nonstop from early eighties until early nineties when Russia opened their Siberian airspace for western carriers. They used DC-10s fitted with extra fuel tanks. I don't think any MD-11s made it to that route, but they would probably have covered the distance without any extra fuel tanks. A friend of mine was on their very last polar route and got a special certificate for that.

Do you know if other carriers adopted this route or did they go around the Soviet Union from the south, making a fuel stop somewhere on the way?

- Hagi

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