x1234
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Which airline first flew a trans-Polar route through the Russian Far East to Asia?

Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:26 pm

Which airline first flew a trans-Polar route through the Russian Far East to Asia? I seem to recall it was Northwest in the early 1990's but need confirmation. I heard UA was not that far behind.
 
mga707
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Re: Which airline first flew a trans-Polar route through the Russian Far East to Asia?

Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:32 pm

It was a joint venture of JAL and Aeroflot. Began around 1970, if memory serves. And a route through the 'Russian Far East' (which IS in Asia, BTW) is not a 'trans-Polar' route.
 
Kent350787
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Re: Which airline first flew a trans-Polar route through the Russian Far East to Asia?

Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:49 pm

The current JAL route to Tokyo usually travels across the Arctic Ocean but relatively close to the Alaskan coast, before heading over Siberia and the Kamchatka peninsula. East Coast US to China is transpolar.
 
aquariusHKG
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Re: Which airline first flew a trans-Polar route through the Russian Far East to Asia?

Wed Mar 18, 2020 6:42 am

My guess would be CO EWR-HKG or the one off CX JFK-HKG on the 744 celebrating the opening of Chek Lap Kok

I don't think flight to Japan needs to be transpolar most of the time
 
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SheikhDjibouti
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Re: Which airline first flew a trans-Polar route through the Russian Far East to Asia?

Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:21 pm

mga707 wrote:
It was a joint venture of JAL and Aeroflot. Began around 1970, if memory serves. And a route through the 'Russian Far East' (which IS in Asia, BTW) is not a 'trans-Polar' route.

Slightly earlier than that if you are talking about these beauties, seen here in 1967 (note Japan Air Lines titles)


The basic problem I have is lack of clear definition from the OP.
Asia is a big place to aim for (LOL), and the departure point is equally vague.
And as already observed, the "Russian Far East" is itself also Asia. Take a look at Vladivostock, it is surprisingly proximate to China, North & South Korea, and Japan.

Meanwhile I guess many here (including the OP?) see this purely from a US-centric perspective :roll: , in which case we are looking at East Coast USA to eastern Asia (Thailand and beyond), or...West Coast USA to South Asia (India, Pakistan etc)

For much of what many consider as "Asia" (China, Japan, Vietnam etc), as soon as you take departures from Chicago or further west (e.g. LAX), the great circle routing flips to being via Canada & Alaska, maybe just grazing the southern tip of the Kamchatka peninsula. So these routes are neither Trans-polar, nor flying over significant portions of Soviet airspace. Note I'm not taking account of actual routings, nor the impact of ETOPS.

For a true "straight over the North Pole" routing to Japan you really need a departure from YQX (Gander)
http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=yqx-hnd
Likewise, KEF-Tokyo crosses vast areas of Arctic Ocean before meeting the equally desolate Russian far east en route to Japan.

And then if we carry on to mainland Europe, all flights to Japan largely follow the same route. Start at Madrid, overfly London or Paris, carry on past Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, and then ….Archangel and the great Russian north. Is that trans-polar enough?

Too many possibilities.
Nothing to see here; move along please.
 
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SheikhDjibouti
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Re: Which airline first flew a trans-Polar route through the Russian Far East to Asia?

Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:24 pm

TL:DR ?

If in doubt, there's always Wikipedia.
Wikipedia wrote:
Cathay Pacific Flight 889 from New York John F. Kennedy International Airport, piloted by Captain Paul Horsting on 7 July 1998—the first arrival to the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok west of Hong Kong—appears to be the first non-stop flight over the Arctic polar region and over Russian airspace. It was the world's first nonstop transpolar flight from New York to Hong Kong, dubbed Polar One.
Nothing to see here; move along please.
 
x1234
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Re: Which airline first flew a trans-Polar route through the Russian Far East to Asia?

Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:31 pm

Did some more research and IT WAS NORTHWEST DTW-NRT on October 12th 1992:
https://delta.pastperfectonline.com/arc ... 4325703830
(Click the image for the passenger award): This route map was presented to passengers, along with a commemorative certificate, on Northwest Airlines Flight 11 from Detroit to Tokyo over Russia on October 12-13, 1992. Northwest Airlines was the first airline in the western world to operate a trans-Pacific passenger flight through Russian air space.

A Northwest Boeing 747-400 flew about 2,500 miles through Russian air space to shorten flight times over the North Pacific. Previously, passenger flights had to fly around Russian air space, which added time and burned more fuel. By operating over Russia, flight times were as much as one hour shorter, depending on wind velocity.

The Russian overfly route--dubbed Siberia II--resulted from a strong working relationship that had developed over several years between Northwest and representatives and organizations in the former Soviet Union and the Russian Federation. In April 1991, a Northwest Airlines Boeing 747 freighter with a Soviet-made GLONASS satellite receiver and a U.S.-made GPS receiver became the first aircraft to operate through Russian air space.

"This is a major international achievement for commercial aviation and Northwest," said John Dasburg, Northwest Airlines president and CEO.

Source: Northwest Airlines Passages company newspaper, 11/1/1992, page 5.
 
x1234
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Re: Which airline first flew a trans-Polar route through the Russian Far East to Asia?

Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:32 pm

CX was the first actual polar flying from JFK, NW was the first actual TPAC flight from a Western airline through Russian airspace.
 
clipperlondon
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:43 pm

Re: Which airline first flew a trans-Polar route through the Russian Far East to Asia?

Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:57 pm

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
mga707 wrote:
It was a joint venture of JAL and Aeroflot. Began around 1970, if memory serves. And a route through the 'Russian Far East' (which IS in Asia, BTW) is not a 'trans-Polar' route.

Slightly earlier than that if you are talking about these beauties, seen here in 1967 (note Japan Air Lines titles)


The basic problem I have is lack of clear definition from the OP.
Asia is a big place to aim for (LOL), and the departure point is equally vague.
And as already observed, the "Russian Far East" is itself also Asia. Take a look at Vladivostock, it is surprisingly proximate to China, North & South Korea, and Japan.

Meanwhile I guess many here (including the OP?) see this purely from a US-centric perspective :roll: , in which case we are looking at East Coast USA to eastern Asia (Thailand and beyond), or...West Coast USA to South Asia (India, Pakistan etc)

For much of what many consider as "Asia" (China, Japan, Vietnam etc), as soon as you take departures from Chicago or further west (e.g. LAX), the great circle routing flips to being via Canada & Alaska, maybe just grazing the southern tip of the Kamchatka peninsula. So these routes are neither Trans-polar, nor flying over significant portions of Soviet airspace. Note I'm not taking account of actual routings, nor the impact of ETOPS.

Not quite on topic but the first true Trans Polar route was in 1953, Los Angeles to Stockholm by SAS. I also remember seeing posters in the 1960s at LHR, the Europa Terminal 2, advertising SAS' "over the Pole' using DC8s.

For a true "straight over the North Pole" routing to Japan you really need a departure from YQX (Gander)
http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=yqx-hnd
Likewise, KEF-Tokyo crosses vast areas of Arctic Ocean before meeting the equally desolate Russian far east en route to Japan.

And then if we carry on to mainland Europe, all flights to Japan largely follow the same route. Start at Madrid, overfly London or Paris, carry on past Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, and then ….Archangel and the great Russian north. Is that trans-polar enough?

Too many possibilities.
 
cedarjet
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Re: Which airline first flew a trans-Polar route through the Russian Far East to Asia?

Wed Mar 18, 2020 2:34 pm

I don’t think the OP is vague at all. Everyone knows or should know that all flights from Europe and North America uses to stop in Anchorage for fuel because Soviet airspace was closed to foreign carriers, and after the end of communism and the USSR, the airspace opened up for transit (and hello overflight charges ding ding) negating the need for an Anchorage stop. We’re not talking about flights from Gander here.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
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SheikhDjibouti
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Re: Which airline first flew a trans-Polar route through the Russian Far East to Asia?

Wed Mar 18, 2020 6:22 pm

cedarjet wrote:
I don’t think the OP is vague at all. Everyone knows that all flights ....
You are too generous.
And BTW Finnair might want to have a word with you as well. :lol:

Even the OP moved the goalposts in order to award the prize to a US carrier.
z1234 wrote:
IT WAS NORTHWEST DTW-NRT on October 12th 1992:
But then goes on to add...
NW was the first actual TPAC flight from a Western airline through Russian airspace.

So, other western airlines were already transiting thru' Russian airspace, just not TPAC routes / Russian Far East? Ok.

The great circle route between DTW and Tokyo NRT barely touches the Kamchatka peninsula (exactly as I commented in my earlier post) but this NW flight did indeed track a little deeper across the Russian mainland and the Sea of Okhotsk. Is that overflying the Russian Far East? Barely!
Then again, "barely" in those days was enough to get you shot down.... :duck:
However it definitely wasn't "Trans-Polar". :shakehead:

If you think I'm nit picking, remember the title of the thread is "Which airline first flew a trans-Polar route through the Russian Far East to Asia?"

BTW - the FAA define Arctic Polar area of operations as the area north of 78° north latitude, which is north of Alaska and most of Siberia.

Q. Was this NW flight a one-off? Or the start of a regular service? It's ok, I think I know the answer.

Fun fact; this forgotten area of Russia is so cut off and downright weird, most of their cars are Right-hand-drive. What's that about? :confused:
Nothing to see here; move along please.

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