The first ever landing of a commercial Boeing 757 passenger airliner on a blue-ice runway in Antarctica occurred today at Union Glacier. The landing was a joint partnership between Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions (ALE), Loftleidir Icelandic, and NAS Corporation Limited (NAS).
The Boeing 757-200 ER flight was undertaken to prove the feasibility of landing commercial passenger airliners at Union Glacier, as part of a larger investigation into the use of such aircraft for ALE’s Antarctic operations.
Intercontinental flights for transporting passengers and cargo from Punta Arenas, Chile, to ALE’s main camp at Union Glacier are usually made by combination passenger/cargo aircraft such as Lockheed Hercules L-382G and Ilyushin IL76-TD. These aircraft are tried and tested for blue-ice landings and for use in polar conditions.
ALE is researching the potential for utilizing conventional passenger airliners in addition to passenger/cargo combination aircraft. The Boeing 757-200 ER, fitted with 62 business class seats, will enhance passenger comfort yet maintain the safety of ALE’s activities and aircraft resources.
ALE transports 400-500 visitors to Antarctica each season on small group Experiences. The majority come to climb Mount Vinson, Antarctica’s highest peak; journey to the South Pole; or visit an emperor penguin colony on the remote Weddell Sea coast. In addition to guided experiences, ALE also provides logistical support to many National Antarctic Programs and scientific research projects.
ALE’s goal has always been to deliver once in a lifetime experiences for each guest, while upholding the highest safety and environmental standards. By extending the range of aircraft that can be used to support visitors and scientific research, ALE has expanded its evacuation capabilities, further ensuring safe and environmentally responsible operations.
ALE has a long history of aviation firsts in the interior of Antarctica. In 1985, its predecessor, Adventure Network International (ANI), pioneered private flights to the continent for an ascent of Mount Vinson. The company was the first to establish an inland, blue-ice airfield in Antarctica, the first to land wheeled aircraft on a blue-ice runway, and the first tour operator to fly guests to the Geographic South Pole.
David Beckman flown to Union Glacier
Football legend and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, David Beckham, flew to the interior of the Antarctic continent for an impromptu football match on November 10, 2015.
David’s visit completes the fifth game in his challenge to play seven games on seven continents. The tour has already taken him to Papua New Guinea, Nepal, Djibouti and Buenos Aires. Earlier this year, David launched his own Fund with UNICEF called 7. He hopes this journey will allow him to share the transformational effect that football has on people’s lives. The matches will be chronicled in an upcoming BBC documentary called ‘Beckham: For The Love Of The Game”, produced by 7 Games and Big Earth Productions.
David and his crew joined the first Ilyushin flight of the Antarctica season to ANI's blue-ice runway and main camp on Union Glacier. Also en route to the white continent was Henry Worsley, a fellow Brit looking to complete Sir Ernest Shackleton’s unfinished journey on a solo expedition to the South Pole and 26 members of ANI’s staff, arriving to set-up camp for the beginning of the Antarctic season.
ANI staff quickly prepared a football pitch on the glacier, marking the corners with bamboo stakes and crafting the goal posts out of skis. The teams were drafted from ANI’s international staff including guides, chefs, medics, and mechanics representing nationalities from New Zealand to Norway.
NAS have reported a profit in it's first year of trading.
NAS Corporation Limited was incorporated on the 9th July 2012 for a business that was never realized and remained dormant until January 2013. Trading commenced as a full time business on the 22nd January 2013 with the financial year ending on the 31st July 2013.
For the 6 months of trading NAS have posted a profit of just over 13% on the total turnover. The Directors are pleased with the result based on only six months trading.
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