Between November 2019 and February 2020, Titan Airways operated a mini-series of six flights between Cape Town and Novolazarevskaya, a Russian Antarctic research station, on behalf Antarctic Logistics Centre International.
The base is located on top of a glacier, which is around 500m thick. The runway is classed as ‘Blue Ice’ and is constructed purely by cutting grooves into the ice to provide the friction for aircraft to land. The runway is 3,000m long, 60m wide, and marked out by black marker-boards. Flights were operated on our Boeing 757 and 767 fleet, with modified, extended legs on the landing gear to help absorb the shock of landing on ice. The Boeing 767 is the largest passenger jet ever to land in Antarctica.
A huge amount of work went into the planning of such a complex operation, including applying to the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for an AOC (air operator’s certificate) extension. The operation was also supported by a survival expert to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our crew in the event of an extended stay down route.