Birdwatching
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No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:50 pm

Can it be that no scheduled flight ever flies over the continent of Antarctica? I've been playing around with Google Earth and it seems that no scheduled flight even comes near it. It seems weird that the skies over Antarctica are completely void of aircraft, so you wouldn't ever see contrails at day or lights in the night, no matter where on Antarctica you are.

The closest flights I can think of are SYD-EZE and SYD-JNB on Qantas, but none of those come close to Antarctica. It's strange that a whole continent doesn't have a single airliner in it's skies.

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point2point
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:08 pm

I think that about the closest and most realistic flight that could be expected to go over the South Pole would be PER-EZE, assuming demand were ever enough to get a flight like this.

That being said, it doesn't look like in the foreseeable and even far future that the South Pole will get too many scheduled passenger planes flying near it.
 
steex
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:16 pm

It makes perfect sense, really. The populated world is centered north of the Equator, and the southernmost major intercontinental airport would be MEL at not quite 38º South (apologies to CHC). Considering the principal landmass of Antarctica doesn't even reach as far north as 60º South, that makes for very few routes that would come anywhere near even taking into account great circle routes.

By comparison, HEL is located just above 60º North and many, many major cities are further north than Melbourne is south - for example, Athens is located at not quite 38º North and it basically has all of Europe north of it. This is why you see so much more travel crossing near the North Pole than the Antarctic landmass.
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:37 pm

During the 1980s AR flew EZE-MEL with the B747-SP, that just clips the Antarctic continent and would have spent several hours over the pack ice. Occasionally it would have to route via RGL if the winds were unfavorable, which is one reason why Rio Galegos has a 3,500m runway. The other is that AR also served EZE-RGL-AKL-HKG with a regular 747-200, which needed RGL as a tech stop and lots of runway on departure to AKL.


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IslandRob
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:25 am

Your question reminded me of an eerie tragedy from the late '70s wherein a DC-10 crashed while flying a sightseeing tour over Antarctica.

Full story here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_New_Zealand_Flight_901

An excerpt:
"Air New Zealand Flight 901 (TE-901) was a scheduled Air New Zealand Antarctic sightseeing flight that operated between 1977 and 1979, from Auckland Airport to Antarctica and return via Christchurch. On 28 November 1979, the fourteenth flight of TE901, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 registered ZK-NZP, collided with Mount Erebus on Ross Island, Antarctica, killing all 237 passengers and 20 crew on board. The accident is commonly known as the Mount Erebus disaster."

Another excerpt:
"The crash spelled the end of commercially operated Antarctic sightseeing flights - Air New Zealand cancelled all its Antarctic flights after Flight 901, and Qantas suspended its Antarctic flights in February 1980, only returning on a limited basis again in 1994 (see Tourism in Antarctica)."

And, here's the eerie part:
"Almost all of the aircraft's wreckage still lies where it came to rest on the slopes of Mount Erebus, under a layer of snow and ice. During warm periods, when snow recedes, it is still visible from the air."

Fascinating story - well worth a read. -IslandRob
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point2point
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:25 am

Quoting IslandRob (Reply 4):
Full story here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_New_Zealand_Flight_901

Rather a sad story indeed.

And the last thing that I'm attempting to do here is to appear cynical or anything, but what would there be to see over Antarctica from an airplane? I could see wanting to maybe get up close to the penguins, and maybe other animals if there are any, but that's as far as I would want to go, and here an airplane view wouldn't be of use.

Isn't Antarctica mostly vast empty land, lots of snow, mountains here and there, icebergs, and what else? Is/was there anything worth really seeing from a plane over the South Pole?
 
AeroplaneFreak
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:30 am

I was lucky to go on a Qantas Antarctica sightseeing tour earlier this year, it was fantastic.
 
point2point
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:37 am

Quoting AeroplaneFreak (Reply 6):

I was lucky to go on a Qantas Antarctica sightseeing tour earlier this year, it was fantastic.

I'm really curious..... if you can, please tell what there was to see, and what the experience was like.
 
zanl188
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:47 pm

Australia operates a scheduled A319 to the icy southern continent....

http://www.antarctica.gov.au/living-...ations/a319-background-information
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masi1157
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:41 pm

There is a scheduled flight to the Antarctic Peninsula from Punta Arenas, Chile by Aervias DAP, using a BAe146:

http://www.aeroviasdap.cl/antartica.html


Regards, Matthias
 
mortkork
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:31 pm

Quoting point2point (Reply 5):
Isn't Antarctica mostly vast empty land, lots of snow, mountains here and there, icebergs, and what else? Is/was there anything worth really seeing from a plane over the South Pole?

Simply your point of view. I was lucky enough to fly FRA-PHL on a clear day over Greenland and the view of the glaciers and landscape was spectacular.

The answer to your question "Is/was there anything worth really seeing from a plane over the South Pole?" is answered by your previous sentence, "snow, mountains here and there, icebergs".
 
Caryjack
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:55 pm

Quoting Birdwatching (Thread starter):
Can it be that no scheduled flight ever flies over the continent of Antarctica?

As has been pointed out, there's simply no reason to fly regularly scheduled commercial airliners over Antarctica. Looks the only flights that even enter that airspace are support and supply aircraft or sight seeing trips.

Quoting Birdwatching (Thread starter):
it seems that no scheduled flight even comes near it.

I do recall seeing a post (maybe an ETOPS thread) that said airliners traveling near Antarctica were not allowed to fly south of a certain latitude. I'm not sure which latitude it was but it could have to do with the sudden storms that brew in that region.
Thanks,   
Cary
 
dashman
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:32 pm

I believe ozone depletion, magnetic variation, magnetic disturbances are an issue. There effects on aircraft equipment and passengers are factors than have to be considered. Factor all that with limited regular passenger traffic makes it impractical except for a charter basis.
 
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AirPacific747
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:59 pm

There is/was a scheduled Airbus 319 flight to Antarctica I think:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qi1umnfNPI

Edit:

Some extra info from another video: "Support and re-supply flights now depart weekly from Hobart, Australia to Wilkins ice runway, Casey Station, Antarctica." And it looks like it is VH-VHD operated by a company called Skytraders. I think it is only for scientists though.. at least according to the news story in the third link.

http://www.skytraders.com.au/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04JBadFYnB4



[Edited 2011-11-12 14:08:50]

[Edited 2011-11-12 14:38:28]
 
EDICHC
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:42 pm

Quoting steex (Reply 2):
and the southernmost major intercontinental airport would be MEL at not quite 38º South (apologies to CHC).

Apologies due! CHC has intercontinental service with EK and SQ! Not only that it has regular US Air Force flights to Antarctica.
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steex
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:52 pm

Quoting EDICHC (Reply 14):
Apologies due! CHC has intercontinental service with EK and SQ! Not only that it has regular US Air Force flights to Antarctica.

I know it has intercontinental service, but it's not what I would consider a "major" intercontinental airport. The only non-stop long-haul intercontinental service at CHC is NZ to NRT, D7 to KUL, and SQ to SIN. EK's service is scheduled CHC-SYD-BKK-DXB, so at best, it's one-stop with a connection at SYD. Given the topic at hand, none of these flights is very applicable since they'd come nowhere near Antarctica and CHC is pretty unlikely to get service to Africa or South America anytime soon.

Regarding USAF flights, those don't really apply here since they are obviously not typical passenger service and are flying TO Antarctica.
 
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RWA380
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:11 pm

Quoting zanl188 (Reply 8):
Quoting zanl188 (Reply 8):
Australia operates a scheduled A319 to the icy southern continent....

http://www.antarctica.gov.au/living-...ation

Wow, I didn't know this flight existed, what a great A.net find, thanks for the link, very interesting.
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sunrisevalley
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:23 pm

Quoting Caryjack (Reply 11):
I do recall seeing a post (maybe an ETOPS thread) that said airliners traveling near Antarctica were not allowed to fly south of a certain latitude.

The Australian regulator does not permit flights below 60 degree's south. Also there are no alternate landing fields with facilities for passengers awaiting retrieval. This is a requirement of both the NZL and Aus. EDTO standards.
 
Viscount724
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:43 pm

Quoting masi1157 (Reply 9):
There is a scheduled flight to the Antarctic Peninsula from Punta Arenas, Chile by Aervias DAP, using a BAe146:
Quoting AirPacific747 (Reply 13):
There is/was a scheduled Airbus 319 flight to Antarctica I think:

Legally those are charter flights, regardless whether they may operate according to a schedule. There are no bilaterals that provide for scheduled service to Antarctica.
 
point2point
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:12 am

Quoting zanl188 (Reply 8):
Australia operates a scheduled A319 to the icy southern continent....

http://www.antarctica.gov.au/living-...ations/a319-background-information
Quoting masi1157 (Reply 9):
There is a scheduled flight to the Antarctic Peninsula from Punta Arenas, Chile by Aervias DAP, using a BAe146:

http://www.aeroviasdap.cl/antartica.html

Thanks all

Quoting mortkork (Reply 10):
Simply your point of view. I was lucky enough to fly FRA-PHL on a clear day over Greenland and the view of the glaciers and landscape was spectacular.

The answer to your question "Is/was there anything worth really seeing from a plane over the South Pole?" is answered by your previous sentence, "snow, mountains here and there, icebergs".

I wouldn't imagine otherwise that your flight must have been beautiful. But.... you were traveling from Point A to Point B. Would this alone have been something that you would have shelled out $$$$ just to see?

Yes, it was my point of view when posted. That's why I asked, and basically kept an open mind with this. And I think that after seeing what is out there, I could now see how a lot of folks could get into going on an adventure such as this. For me, I think that I would prefer to be much closer to the ground (although with the sub-zero Antarctica temps, I'd be thinking long and hard about doing this.....) But that's just me, so......

Nonetheless, I learned some new things here by asking, so thanks again everyone...  
 
us330
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:17 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 18):
There are no bilaterals that provide for scheduled service to Antarctica.

who would the bilateral be with? there'd be no contracting party on the other side--it's literally no man's land--no antarctic sovereign is present.
 
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DeltaMD90
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:33 am

This might be kind of a dumb question, but is it legal for someone to fly their own private aircraft from Argentina (for example) to Antarctica? Legally? (Why, idk just to say they've been there who knows!)
Ironically I have never flown a Delta MD-90 :)
 
Viscount724
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:39 am

Quoting us330 (Reply 20):
Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 18):
There are no bilaterals that provide for scheduled service to Antarctica.

who would the bilateral be with? there'd be no contracting party on the other side--it's literally no man's land--no antarctic sovereign is present.

That was my point.
 
SCL767
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:59 am

Quoting masi1157 (Reply 9):
There is a scheduled flight to the Antarctic Peninsula from Punta Arenas, Chile by Aervias DAP, using a BAe146:

These flights operate into the Chilean airbase, Aeropuerto Teniente Rodolfo Marsh (Aeropuerto Villa Las Estrellas), on Isla Rey Jorge. The airbase serves the Chilean commune of Villa Las Estrellas, which is part of the Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena. It is governed from the city of Puerto Williams on Isla Navarino.
 
Caryjack
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:59 am

Quoting SunriseValley (Reply 17):
The Australian regulator does not permit flights below 60 degree's south. Also there are no alternate landing fields with facilities for passengers awaiting retrieval. This is a requirement of both the NZL and Aus. EDTO standards.

Does this apply to all carriers operating to Australia and New Zealand or just the locals - NZ, QF, ...?

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 21):
This might be kind of a dumb question, but is it legal for someone to fly their own private aircraft from Argentina (for example) to Antarctica?
Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 22):
Quoting us330 (Reply 20):
Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 18):
There are no bilaterals that provide for scheduled service to Antarctica.

who would the bilateral be with? there'd be no contracting party on the other side--it's literally no man's land--no antarctic sovereign is present.

Sounds legal...

Quoting dashman (Reply 12):
I believe ozone depletion, magnetic variation, magnetic disturbances are an issue. There effects on aircraft equipment and passengers are factors than have to be considered.
Quoting IslandRob (Reply 4):

"Almost all of the aircraft's wreckage still lies where it came to rest on the slopes of Mount Erebus, under a layer of snow and ice. During warm periods, when snow recedes, it is still visible from the air."

...but it may not be the smartest thing to do.

Thanks,
Cary
 
sunrisevalley
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:03 am

Quoting Caryjack (Reply 24):
Does this apply to all carriers operating to Australia and New Zealand or just the locals - NZ, QF, ...?

The EDTO standards of Aus. and NZL apply to all carriers seeking approval to fly in and out of their respective jurisdictions . A big part of the standards is the extended diversion times in excess of 180-min and how a carrier must qualify to meet the standard in the case of NZL and a flat rejection of any standard by Aus. except to say a carrier may apply and the regulator will determine what it might be if anything. I gather there has been no worldwide ICAO standard developed from the last FAA EROPS standard so there is a vacuum.
 
rfields5421
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:03 pm

Quoting us330 (Reply 20):
it's literally no man's land--no antarctic sovereign is present.

Rather the opposite.

Antarctica is a very heavily controlled / regulated territory. Several nations have claims of sovereignty for parts of the continent, though many of those claims are not recognized by some other nations.

One of the few international successful cooperation's has been the Antarctic Treaty System. I suspect the treaty system may have limits on transiting aviation - but I'm not certain.

One issue which most nations involved in Antarctica wish to avoid is having to mount SAR actions. It is an extremely difficult environment for such efforts and the Air New Zealand crash demonstrated. Such action can divert resources and make several years planning and preparation for scientific experiments useless.

Nations such as Chile, Argentina and Australia make flights to the bases in their claimed areas. Some allow commercial operations into the areas where they claim sovereignty.
 
yenne09
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:04 pm

Quoting masi1157 (Reply 9):
There is a scheduled flight to the Antarctic Peninsula from Punta Arenas, Chile by Aervias DAP, using a BAe146:

Dap only has charter flights to Antarctica. There are are only two permanent runways on the islands on the northern part of the Antarctica continent . The largest , Chilean airport Teniente Rodolffo Marsh Martin on King George Island has a gravel runway of about 4100ft/1250m and is served by DAP. This is the closest runway from either Puerto Williams (Chile) or Ushuaia (Argentina). The other one Rothera, a U-K base on Adelaide Island, is about 3000ft/900m of gravel and is served from Port-Stanley (Falkland Islands) by the British Antarctic Survey Dash-7. All the other runways are made of ice or snow.. Also the radio coverage of the area is almost nonexistent.
 
baroque
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:18 pm

Quoting AeroplaneFreak (Reply 6):
I was lucky to go on a Qantas Antarctica sightseeing tour earlier this year, it was fantastic.

Over 30 years ago, but ditto.

First the pack ice from 30,000' is an astonishing display. IIRC my flight was Nov before the melt really set in. The patterns of ice are fascinating.

We were a bit unlucky in that the Ross Sea area had worse weather so at the coast we turned R and not L so we say monster glaciers rather than high mountains poking out through the glaciers.

If you have seen the Greenland glaciers, they do not even begin to prepare you for the big AA glaciers draining the central ice cap. Pinched in near the coast, most of them are still about 60 kms across. In those days, QF took their 747s down to under 1000' to circle the French base.

As AF writes, fantastic.
 
rfields5421
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RE: No Scheduled Flights Even Near Antarctica?

Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:50 pm

One of my best friends in our US Navy careers, got to go to Antarctica over a dozen times during his 20 years, even got to make one trip to the South Pole. He wintered over once. I've always been jealous of his experiences.