China’s debut flight to Antarctica succeeds, signals new era in polar travel

Published on : Monday, December 18, 2017


AntarcticChina’s first flight to Antarctica had successfully made a landing on Saturday night marking a move that signaled that the nation had initiated a brand new era of tapping into the nascent South Pole tourism sector that would lift China’s position and influence as a leading power in the region according to an expert.


The flight was operated by Deer Jet, the corporate flight subsidiary of HNA Group that had carried 22 Chinese passengers from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Thursday to the southernmost region of the earth.


It had actually transferred in Cape Town, South Africa following a 15-hour flight to refuel.


After the layover the airplane took off for another 5.5-hour flight and successfully landed on a 2,500-meter runway at an airport in Antarctica, as per a statement Deer Jet had sent to the a leading news media agency over the weekend.


After resting for a while the passengers scheduled to take a DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft to the South Pole following an additional five-to-six-hour flight.


A senior executive from the HNA Group had said that the launch of this route is quite a ‘milestone’.


The senior executive told the media that before the launch of the new flight China had not developed any tourism resources. Also, it had not participated in any form of the rule-making in Antarctic tourism.


In the past, Chinese travellers who were eager to visit the South Pole were compelled to take cruises operated by foreign companies, as per the executive, mentioning that the launch of the new route would put an end to the situation.


Dong Yue, a research fellow at the Polar Research Institute of the Ocean University of China feels that the commercial flight once again proves that China is gradually transiting from a big country doing activities in this region, to a stronger one.


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