planemanofnz
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Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:33 pm

Hi all,

Background

About 35,000 tourists visit Antarctica each year, with most arriving on sea cruises, seeking to go camping, cross country skiing, hiking, mountaineering, or even visit the South Pole. The number of visitors to Antarctica is forecast to rise to almost 45,000 in 2017 - just below the 2008 pre-recession peak - with more people actually landing on the continent than ever before (many tourists simply sail past an Antarctic peninsula, staring at icebergs through binoculars). Most tourists to Antarctica are from the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, but a growing number are from China too, with more than 4,000 Chinese people traveling to Antarctica in the 2015 / 2016 season, compared to just 99 a decade ago.

Antarctic tourism companies must book pre-approved sites in advance, to minimize the impact on the local environment, but as the number of visitors keeps growing, some countries are clamoring for tighter regulation. This is explained The Guardian, here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/ ... ield-trips.

Scenic flights

Air New Zealand briefly ran scenic flights over the continent. In 1979, one of its planes crashed into Mount Erebus, killing all 257 on board. That disaster has left a scar on New Zealand, and is likely the reason for the airline's decision not to return to Antarctica for more than three decades. Meanwhile, each year, Qantas runs several flights from Australia to Antarctica (a sightseeing flyover that does not land), with a distance of between 9,500 – 10,500 kms, return (approximately 12.5 hours), depending on the departure city. Expert Antarctic expeditioners are onboard to talk on the polar environment and its history, while video screenings depict life on the ground. See: http://www.antarcticaflights.com.au/home#expect.

Upcoming Qantas flyover flights to Antarctica depart from:
- Sydney on November 25, 2017
- Melbourne on December 31, 2017
- Melbourne on February 11, 2018
- Brisbane on February 18, 2018

Aviation facilities

Despite the prominence of sea cruises, Antarctica also has several runways capable of handling modern jet aircraft. The Antarctic's ice runways (like at McMurdo Station, in New Zealand's Ross Dependency) often have the characteristics of a regular runway that is covered in dry snow, much like pilots might expect to encounter at cold commercial airports. Landing strips in Antarctica do need to be prepared carefully though, so that there is sufficient granulation to provide friction for arriving and departing aircraft. Nevertheless, Air New Zealand has previously considered charter flights to Antarctica, and said that the ice runway at McMurdo Station was sufficient for its 767-300ER - the jet did not need any modifications.

Today, advanced navigation procedures are available to pilots, and USAF C-17 pilots have even made landings in total darkness using night vision goggles (previously, barrels of burning fuel were used to mark the runway in the dark). Jet fuel is very expensive to transport to Antarctica, and is brought in by ship during the summer months when the sea ice can be broken by ice breakers. However, unlike the RZNAF 757s which currently fly to Antarctica from New Zealand, certain commercial aircraft like the Boeing 767-300ER, as an example, would have a range of well over 6,000 miles, making it possible to fly back to New Zealand, without having to add fuel in Antarctica - this significantly reduces operational costs.

Future role of aviation

There has recently been a significant amount of activity from airlines, who are seeking to fly to, and land at, Antarctica, for commercial flights:

- In 2015, a commercial Boeing 757 passenger jet successfully landed on a blue-ice field on Union Glacier in Antarctica, for the first time. The airliner was piloted by Loftleidir Icelandic as "part of a larger investigation into the use of such aircraft for ALE's Antarctic operations."

- In 2016, it was announced that tourists will be able to fly from Argentina to Antarctica from 2018, on the first-ever regular commercial flights to the frozen continent. Flights will depart once or twice weekly from Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, to the Argentinian base of Marambio on Seymour Island, situated near the tip of the Antarctic peninsula (3,330 km south of Buenos Aires). The airstrip at Marambio will be upgraded with a radar station allowing for the safe arrival of regular flights. Approximately 10 per cent of accommodation at the base will be made available for tourists. The flights will take around one and a half hours and will be serviced by turboprop planes from the state-owned airline LADE.

Topics for discussion

I wonder what people think about the development of commercial aviation in Antarctica - particularly:

- Is there scope for Aerolineas Argentinas, Air New Zealand, Latam Airlines, South African Airways or Virgin Australia to challenge Qantas' dominance on the sightseeing flyovers of Antarctica, that do not land there?

- In light of the upcoming commercial flights to Antarctica by LADE, what additional regulations should be put in place, for safety and sustainability?

- Is there scope for a charter flight to land in Antarctica, allow tourists to walk around a base like McMurdo Station for an hour, before flying off again, as an alternative to the flyovers? Part of the revenue generated from such a flight could go towards conservation efforts. A 787 would have sufficient range to not need to re-fuel in Antarctica, for such a flight. Air New Zealand might be well placed to offer such flights, given that New Zealand's Ross Dependency hosts Antarctica's largest community - McMurdo Station, and Air New Zealand can also pick up connections from the Americas and Asia.


Image

Photos

Qantas' scenic flight

Image

757 commercial test flight

Image

McMurdo Station, Ross Dependency

Image

Antarctic Ice Marathon

Image

Tourists in Antarctica

Image

Cheers,

C.
 
mjoelnir
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:14 pm

Icelandair has been flying a 757-200 from Puntas Arenas, Chile to Union Glacier station,

It went pretty well.

https://leehamnews.com/2015/11/27/icela ... ntarctica/
 
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MoKa777
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:45 pm

Thanks planemanofnz for this awesome thread.

I would love to one day visit Antarctica. Amazing place.

I don't think SAA would get involved with scenic flights. They are not financially stable enough to consider such an operation. Although they are crazy enough to do so.
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kivalliqboy1
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:00 pm

mjoelnir wrote:
Icelandair has been flying a 757-200 from Puntas Arenas, Chile to Union Glacier station,

It went pretty well.

https://leehamnews.com/2015/11/27/icela ... ntarctica/


Interesting... but what makes Icelandic a "regular airline" and not the Ilyushin?
 
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adamblang
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:15 pm

kivalliqboy1 wrote:
Interesting... but what makes Icelandic a "regular airline" and not the Ilyushin?

Icelandic is an airline doing regularly scheduled flights. Ilyushin is an aircraft manufacturer.
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aerolimani
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:29 pm

As I understand, for most tourists, the major attraction is seeing the penguins up close. I don’t think any of the penguin colonies are within reach of the airstrips. I think this is the primary reason why marine tourism will likely continue to dominate.
 
kivalliqboy1
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:27 pm

adamblang wrote:
kivalliqboy1 wrote:
Interesting... but what makes Icelandic a "regular airline" and not the Ilyushin?

Icelandic is an airline doing regularly scheduled flights. Ilyushin is an aircraft manufacturer.


Sorry I typed that too quickly. The operator of the Ilyushin, I mean.
 
kivalliqboy1
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:29 pm

aerolimani wrote:
As I understand, for most tourists, the major attraction is seeing the penguins up close. I don’t think any of the penguin colonies are within reach of the airstrips. I think this is the primary reason why marine tourism will likely continue to dominate.


ALE chartered Twin Otters and Baslers do runs to an Emperor Penguin colony from Patriot Hills.
 
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readytotaxi
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:43 pm

Responsible tourism is to encouraged so they can spread the word, operators would do well to respect mother nature and not put profit before safety, Mother Nature always wins.
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pzurita1
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:46 pm

planemanofnz wrote:

Future role of aviation

There has recently been a significant amount of activity from airlines, who are seeking to fly to, and land at, Antarctica, for commercial flights:

- In 2015, a commercial Boeing 757 passenger jet successfully landed on a blue-ice field on Union Glacier in Antarctica, for the first time. The airliner was piloted by Loftleidir Icelandic as "part of a larger investigation into the use of such aircraft for ALE's Antarctic operations."

- In 2016, it was announced that tourists will be able to fly from Argentina to Antarctica from 2018, on the first-ever regular commercial flights to the frozen continent. Flights will depart once or twice weekly from Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, to the Argentinian base of Marambio on Seymour Island, situated near the tip of the Antarctic peninsula (3,330 km south of Buenos Aires). The airstrip at Marambio will be upgraded with a radar station allowing for the safe arrival of regular flights. Approximately 10 per cent of accommodation at the base will be made available for tourists. The flights will take around one and a half hours and will be serviced by turboprop planes from the state-owned airline LADE.



I might like to add that Chilean Aerovías DAP based in PUQ (Punta Arenas) has developed a charter airline known as Antarctic Airways. They run tours to Isla Rey Jorge where Villas Las Estrellas is located. With them it is also possible to camp on this Antarctic island. They use BAe 146 for the 2hrs flight. DAP had been flying to this island for years.
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aerolimani
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:08 pm

kivalliqboy1 wrote:
aerolimani wrote:
As I understand, for most tourists, the major attraction is seeing the penguins up close. I don’t think any of the penguin colonies are within reach of the airstrips. I think this is the primary reason why marine tourism will likely continue to dominate.


ALE chartered Twin Otters and Baslers do runs to an Emperor Penguin colony from Patriot Hills.

Nice! I didn’t know that. :)
 
kivalliqboy1
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:10 pm

aerolimani wrote:
kivalliqboy1 wrote:
aerolimani wrote:
As I understand, for most tourists, the major attraction is seeing the penguins up close. I don’t think any of the penguin colonies are within reach of the airstrips. I think this is the primary reason why marine tourism will likely continue to dominate.


ALE chartered Twin Otters and Baslers do runs to an Emperor Penguin colony from Patriot Hills.

Nice! I didn’t know that. :)


It's amazing what $73,500 will get you :D

https://antarctic-logistics.com/trip/em ... explorers/
 
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aerolimani
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:22 pm

kivalliqboy1 wrote:
aerolimani wrote:
kivalliqboy1 wrote:

ALE chartered Twin Otters and Baslers do runs to an Emperor Penguin colony from Patriot Hills.

Nice! I didn’t know that. :)


It's amazing what $73,500 will get you :D

https://antarctic-logistics.com/trip/em ... explorers/

:shock: Yeah… the cruises are a little more affordable.
 
kivalliqboy1
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:28 pm

I'm sorry for hi-jacking this thread but some old stories came to mind.

For a few years I worked in the Twin Otter world, firstly with some ex-First Air folks and then Borek. My friend, the late Bob Heath, who tragically passed away in a crash in 2013 on the ice had this account of his Twin Otter ferry trip to Rothera. He posted this on AvCanada on October 30, 2006...

Crossing the Drake

It has been a very long week...

Prepping four airplanes, to fly from the top of the world to the bottom of the world (with four new crewmembers) requires patience, planning, forbearance, skill, and several other virtues that I don't possess.

And yet, seven days after our Calgary departure, we are here. Granted, we are at Rothera (the Brit Station on the peninsula), and not at our destination. It's a lot like saying we're almost in Inuvik when we depart Halifax.

Leaving was not, for all of us the pleasant exciting time it often is. Personal tragedy, mis-placed equipment, and aprehension about flying off the edge of the known world made it difficult for several of us. Flying into one country enroute where deviations from normal flight tolerances often result in arrest likely didn't make it easier for the new crews.

We have had good flight conditions the length of the flight. Tail-winds, fair weather, no thunderstorms or accumulated icing. Yesterday made up for that.

Crossing the Drake is an occaision not unlike crossing the equator for sailors. For pilots the things that we forget from flight school really are important. We reach a point of no return enroute. At this point we are commited to proceeding. There is a critical point where we will take an equal mount of time to return safely to South America or to proceed. We have a different calculation if an engine fails and we must fly home at a slower speed. New co-pilots tend to be very solemn when they calculate these points. I have a new co-pilot.

While we have forecasters building forecasts and interpreting weather sattellite imagery for us, nature is a force to be reckoned with. The winds were more a hindrance that a help. Icing limited our ability to climb. We had a window of opportunity to arrive in Rothera of about eight hours. It is a seven hour flight. I landed on the ski strip above the base. The previous two aircraft on wheels landed at the base. The ski tracks of the first aircraft to land at the ski-strip (my reference for safe touchdown ) disappeared in the half light of cloud cover (flat light) 15 minutes after touchdown.

Arriving on the continent means changing the configuration of the aircraft from wheels to wheel-skis to land at the ski-way, and then from wheel-skis to straight skis. Wheel-skis weigh 900 pounds. We take one set of these for each two aircraft. Straight skis 300. We take them all with us. Changing them means an engineer has to have the help of his pilots. Which means twice as much work for the engineers as working alone.

We worked to the end of our duty day up on the glacier changing the skiis. Tow machines now have skis. Two are on wheel-skis. The latter will fly up to the top of the glacier when the weather improves. Then we will put straight skis on them. This an all-day process. As a rule, engineer's have a much lower opinion of pilots than when they started.

Today the weather is as brutal as you might be able to picture, when you imagine Polar explorers trudging through the snow. No visability due to driving snow in a 40 knot wind. No contrast so that you trip over any small drift. Today we are staying put. Tomorrow too maybe. After a week of speaking Spanglish, we are learning to speak English English. There are 21 dialects of it. There are 21 Brits here. Each one speaks a different dialect.

But we are here!
 
pzurita1
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:38 pm

This thead is awesome. Thanks planemanofnz for putting it all together. Thanks also to kivalliqboy1 for sharing that amazing recount.
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VirginFlyer
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:46 pm

Interesting thread! Like many others I am keen to follow the development of aviation links to this part of the world.

planemanofnz wrote:
Is there scope for a charter flight to land in Antarctica, allow tourists to walk around a base like McMurdo Station for an hour, before flying off again, as an alternative to the flyovers? Part of the revenue generated from such a flight could go towards conservation efforts. A 787 would have sufficient range to not need to re-fuel in Antarctica, for such a flight. Air New Zealand might be well placed to offer such flights, given that New Zealand's Ross Dependency hosts Antarctica's largest community - McMurdo Station, and Air New Zealand can also pick up connections from the Americas and Asia.[/i]

Image

You really are determined to join as many dots as possible in our part of the world aren't you! :lol: Seriously though, I'm not certain how feasible a one-hour tour of McMurdo would be - it's a working base which would mean a fair amount of logistics involved, and by all accounts it is one of the least pretty places in Antarctica. If you're serious about landing people at McMurdo, it might be more worthwhile looking at whether a longer stay (a week?) at a purpose built place a bit away from McMurdo might make sense, and whether the aircraft doing these weekly flights could take on the role of the air lift currently done by military transports. I'm not sure how feasible that would be either, mind you.

planemanofnz wrote:
Scenic flights

Air New Zealand briefly ran scenic flights over the continent. In 1979, one of its planes crashed into Mount Erebus, killing all 257 on board. That disaster has left a scar on New Zealand, and is likely the reason for the airline's decision not to return to Antarctica for more than three decades. Meanwhile, each year, Qantas runs several flights from Australia to Antarctica (a sightseeing flyover that does not land), with a distance of between 9,500 – 10,500 kms, return (approximately 12.5 hours), depending on the departure city. Expert Antarctic expeditioners are onboard to talk on the polar environment and its history, while video screenings depict life on the ground. See: http://www.antarcticaflights.com.au/home#expect.

Upcoming Qantas flyover flights to Antarctica depart from:
- Sydney on November 25, 2017
- Melbourne on December 31, 2017
- Melbourne on February 11, 2018
- Brisbane on February 18, 2018

...

- Is there scope for Aerolineas Argentinas, Air New Zealand, Latam Airlines, South African Airways or Virgin Australia to challenge Qantas' dominance on the sightseeing flyovers of Antarctica, that do not land there?

A little clarification is needed here: the Air New Zealand flights were operated and marketed by Air New Zealand. I believe Qantas did the same during the same time period, and also ceased after the Erebus crash.

The flights currently going from Australia are marketed by a travel agency from Victoria, Croydon Travel, under a brand-name Antarctica Flights. They charter the flight from Qantas, who obviously are quite intimately involved with the process, but it would be incorrect to regard this as a Qantas initiative. It may interest you to know that Croydon Travel are also the people behind the Captain's Choice tours, which are also run as a charter from Qantas.

I flew on an Antarctica flight ex-Sydney in early 2005. It was truly phenomenal. Although we didn't descend below 19,000ft, the view was fantastic. You really got a perspective of the landscape, the flow of the glaciers, the mountains, it was just awesome. The amount of time over the ice (it was about 3 hours) was worth the 5 hour transit each way, and I'd definitely do it again.

V/F
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dcajet
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:01 pm

planemanofnz wrote:
- In 2016, it was announced that tourists will be able to fly from Argentina to Antarctica from 2018, on the first-ever regular commercial flights to the frozen continent. Flights will depart once or twice weekly from Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, to the Argentinian base of Marambio on Seymour Island, situated near the tip of the Antarctic peninsula (3,330 km south of Buenos Aires). The airstrip at Marambio will be upgraded with a radar station allowing for the safe arrival of regular flights. Approximately 10 per cent of accommodation at the base will be made available for tourists. The flights will take around one and a half hours and will be serviced by turboprop planes from the state-owned airline LADE.

[i]- Is there scope for Aerolineas Argentinas, Air New Zealand, Latam Airlines, South African Airways or Virgin Australia to challenge Qantas' dominance on the sightseeing flyovers of Antarctica, that do not land there?



I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for those LADE fights. Assuming they are still on, I have never heard anything further about their plans to fly there. A quick search on Google reveals that the last public available information is from 2016 - when the announcement was made. On top of it, LADE only has access to S340s and C-130s from the Air Force. The F-27s, that used to visit Marambio were withdrawn from service last year.

http://www.marambio.aq/vuelosturisticos.html

On the link above we can see that EADS pitched the the C-295 to the FAA - Argentinian Air Force, including a demo flight to Marambio.

Regarding AR or LA challenging QF's dominance on these Antarctic scenic flights, I doubt it. To pay a fortune to be on a plane for 10-12 hours so one can claim to have seen the last frontier - from above - may be appealing to some people. But, unlike Australia, Argentina and Chile have plenty of sub Antarctic National Parks and in the case of Argentina, some of the largest, still growing glaciers on the planet where once can actually walk on them, touch, feel, the real thing.
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aklrno
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:03 pm

I agree with those who don't see the point of a scenic flight. Yes, you could see some amazing sights, but through a small airplane window from 19,000 feet? I'd rather sit in a comfortable IMAX theater and watch a two hour movie of the same trip possibly shot from a lower altitude with a good lens instead of a scratched window.

I did a cruise from Ushuaia to the Antarctic peninsula and that was wonderful. Seeing the ice from sea level, looking up at the mountains of ice gives you a much better idea of how much ice there is. I haven't flown over Antarctica, but I have flown over the Arctic and Greenland and sea level is better. Also the cruise has penguins. Lots and lots of penguins.

Cruises leave minimal lasting impact on the land. If you flew there and stayed overnight the impact would be much greater.
 
FlyHappy
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:54 pm

ugh.
I don't like it. "boots on the ground" is damaging, a spiritual violation of the agreements against commercial exploitation of the continent, and furthers the slippery slope condition which will inevitably bring more nations/interests in to grab their share.

I know, I know - a guest lodge at McMurdo (or wherever) would pour cash in, funding all the research you can imagine....... but its a huge genie out of a bottle that just isn't necessary.

I vote no. As if I had a vote.
 
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mariner
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:15 am

FlyHappy wrote:
ugh.
I don't like it. "boots on the ground" is damaging, a spiritual violation of the agreements against commercial exploitation of the continent, and furthers the slippery slope condition which will inevitably bring more nations/interests in to grab their share.

I know, I know - a guest lodge at McMurdo (or wherever) would pour cash in, funding all the research you can imagine....... but its a huge genie out of a bottle that just isn't necessary.

I vote no. As if I had a vote.


Image

I don't have a vote either, but I'm with you. I find the idea of commercialising Antartica quite disturbing. Flyovers, sure, but no more than that.

mariner
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aklrno
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:17 am

FlyHappy wrote:
ugh.
I don't like it. "boots on the ground" is damaging, a spiritual violation of the agreements against commercial exploitation of the continent, and furthers the slippery slope condition which will inevitably bring more nations/interests in to grab their share.

I know, I know - a guest lodge at McMurdo (or wherever) would pour cash in, funding all the research you can imagine....... but its a huge genie out of a bottle that just isn't necessary.

I vote no. As if I had a vote.

I don't know if the comment above referred to my cruise to the peninsula, or to the idea of overnight stays on the mainland. I agree overnight stays and "hotels" are a very bad idea.

The cruise I was on had tight limitations. There are only a handful of places where landings could take place, limits on the number of people allowed ashore at any time (my ship had around 130 passengers, and not all were ashore at once), and absolutely nothing was left except footprints. We stayed on the ship for meals, toilets, and lodging.

We were instructed to stay at least 3 meters from all wildlife, more from seals who liked to be left alone. Apparently no one told the penguins the rules, so if you stood still they would soon be walking by right next to you treating you as inanimate object. We were to told to stay out of the penguin freeways, the common paths to the water. But if we all walked in the same place when we turned around we found that our path was now covered with penguins who had adopted it as a new freeway. You wouldn't want to get too close anyway. They smell terrible.
 
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AirlineCritic
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:44 am

What's the cheapest flights to Antarctica that one can buy?

(And yes, responsible tourism... not damaging the environment or turning it to a new Ibiza. But just wondering ... )
 
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mariner
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:39 am

AirlineCritic wrote:
(And yes, responsible tourism... not damaging the environment or turning it to a new Ibiza. But just wondering ... )


The more people that go, the more the environment is affected, starting with waste removal.

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Obzerva
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:37 am

Do Skytraders still operate the A319s from HBA to Wilkins?
Wasn't sure if they were still operating, I imagine it would be seasonal.
 
NZ321
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:29 pm

FlyHappy wrote:
ugh.
I don't like it. "boots on the ground" is damaging, a spiritual violation of the agreements against commercial exploitation of the continent, and furthers the slippery slope condition which will inevitably bring more nations/interests in to grab their share.

I know, I know - a guest lodge at McMurdo (or wherever) would pour cash in, funding all the research you can imagine....... but its a huge genie out of a bottle that just isn't necessary.

I vote no. As if I had a vote.


Have to say I'm with you on this. The fewer people who tread on Antarctica the better IMHO.
 
NichCage
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:48 pm

How long is the ice runway in Antarctica?

Otherwise, I think visiting Antarctica would be a once in a lifetime experience.
 
planemanofnz
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Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:28 pm

FlyHappy wrote:
will inevitably bring more nations/interests in to grab their share

You might be surprised to know that most of Antarctica is already claimed (albeit, with limited recognition, and some unresolved boundary disputes). Other than the un-claimed Marie Byrd Land (which some publications in the United States have shown as being a United States territory, based on the activities of the United States there prior to 1959), there is not much left for other nations to "grab."

Notably, New Zealand's Ross Dependency is actually constitutionally a part of New Zealand "proper," and is not merely a dependent territory (like Tokelau), or an associated state (like Niue). Most people in New Zealand are unaware of this, and the fact that New Zealand therefore shares mutually recognized land borders with territories from the likes of Norway and France (meeting at the South Pole).

Image

MoKa777 wrote:
I don't think SAA would get involved with scenic flights. They are not financially stable enough to consider such an operation. Although they are crazy enough to do so.

Thanks for the insight, MoKa777. One day, if SA becomes a more sustainable operation, this might be of interest to it - indeed, CPT is one of only a few major airports that would be ideally located for such operations:

Image


Image

aerolimani wrote:
I don’t think any of the penguin colonies are within reach of the airstrips. I think this is the primary reason why marine tourism will likely continue to dominate.

I agree that nature is a strong attraction in Antarctica, but, equally, there would be a (wealthy) niche that would just genuinely be interested in saying that they have stepped foot there, similar to why some people go to, say, North Korea. Separately, I also think that there would be some interest in the history and nature of human activity in Antarctica, which could be satisfied at, say, McMurdo Station.

In both instances, limited flights to McMurdo Station could be viable - if co-ordinated with the appropriate authorities properly, a flight from AKL could land at NZIR, allow passengers to have a short tour and photo opportunity, before flying back to AKL again. The effect on the natural environment would be minimal, as the flights could bring back all traces of waste to New Zealand, for future disposal.

Some cultural sights in Antarctica:

Chapel of the Snows - McMurdo Station

Image

Robert F. Scott's "Time Capsule Hut" - Cape Evans

Image

VirginFlyer wrote:
I'm not certain how feasible a one-hour tour of McMurdo would be - it's a working base which would mean a fair amount of logistics involved, and by all accounts it is one of the least pretty places in Antarctica. If you're serious about landing people at McMurdo, it might be more worthwhile looking at whether a longer stay (a week?)

For 3 or 4 flights a year, I am sure that a one or two hour tour could be co-ordinated appropriately - after all, McMurdo Station is the largest settlement in Antarctica, and there would be no shortage of staff to guide and supervise visitors. I am not so sure that a "longer stay" would be viable though - a dedicated facility would be too much for just 3 or 4 flights a year (the likely amount), and as noted above, McMurdo Station is not exactly pretty - people would likely not want to stay for one week. In addition, New Zealand is likely to discourage any activities more than the bare minimum needed, to facilitate this initiative.

FlyHappy wrote:
I vote no. As if I had a vote.

mariner wrote:
I find the idea of commercialising Antartica quite disturbing

NZ321 wrote:
The fewer people who tread on Antarctica the better IMHO.

I am also not too enthused at the prospect of further commercial tourism growth in Antarctica, and the potential effect that it might have on the environment. However, it must be said that:

- Tourists who are able to visit the region may become ambassadors for Antarctica.
- There has been no conclusive evidence that tourism so far has disturbed breeding patterns of wildlife.
- Tour operators have codes of conduct to minimise impact, like not going within five metres of wildlife.

On the point about tourists being ambassadors, one website explains this quite well:

"How or why should anyone care about a place that hardly anyone knows of or visits? The more voices there are speaking on behalf of Antarctica, if development or extraction of mineral resources is considered, the better. Remember, this is a place where no-one lives permanently, and so there are no native residents to speak up for it."

Whether we like it or not, the growth will continue - just look at these figures:

Image

Obzerva wrote:
Do Skytraders still operate the A319s from HBA to Wilkins?

AFAIK, yes - it operates weekly, from October to March, serving members of research expeditions, as well as scientists:

Image

Cheers,

C.
Last edited by planemanofnz on Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
edmountain
Posts: 201
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2014 10:00 pm

Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:33 pm

I vote no as well. Can't there be at least one remote corner of Earth not ruined by people?
 
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mariner
Posts: 19121
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2001 7:29 am

Re: Antarctica - Aviation and Tourism

Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:39 pm

planemanofnz wrote:
- Tourists who are able to visit the region may become ambassadors for Antarctica.
- There has been no conclusive evidence that tourism so far has disturbed breeding patterns of wildlife.
- Tour operators have codes of conduct to minimise impact, like not going within five metres of wildlife.


(a) I don't know why it needs "ambassadors." I'll never go to Venus, but it doesn't stop me being fascinated by the planet. I read the quote you provided and thought it to be a massive piece of self-justification, and advocating mining in Antartica. Bad news for the environment.

(b) I'm not willing to take the risk. I saw what happened to Bali in the space of twenty years. The more tourists that go, the more chance there is of despoliation. If your response is that I cannot stop that tourism, I know that. But I don't have to advocate it.

(c) There will always be people who will push the code of conduct to the limit - and sometimes beyond.

mariner
aeternum nauta

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