A commercial Airbus airliner successfully landed on the white continent of Antarctica for the first time in history.
Earlier this month, one of the company’s A340 flights landed on an ice runway, clearing the path for greater tourism on the frozen landmass.
The A340 took off from Cape Town, South Africa, on November 2 and flew 2,500 nautical miles (4,630 kilometres) to Antarctica.
According to the aircraft’s pilot, Captain Carlos Mirpuri, it then established aviation first by landing on a runway formed of “blue glacial ice.”
According to CNN, the historic trip was chartered by Wolf’s Gang luxury adventure camp and handled by Hi Fly, a boutique aviation firm.
This season, the plane will transport a modest number of tourists to the frigid continent, as well as scientists and freight.
As the 190-tonne plane approached the runway in Antarctica, there was “attention and worry” in the cockpit.
Captain Mirpuri described how special grooves had to be dug into the runway to allow for extra friction as the plane landed, otherwise it would have slid down the icy course due to its large supply cargo. Because of the glare from the polar ice, the pilots had to wear protective eyewear.