Flights to the North Pole also planned from Russia | Polarjournal
Ice Camp Barneo is open to researchers and visitors for about 3-5 weeks each April, before the warming sun renders the ice at the North Pole unstable and unsafe. (Photo: Camp Barneo)

As the leading web portal aeroTELEGRAPH reported this week, some flights to Camp Barneo near the North Pole will now be offered from Russia. These are already listed on the camp website. But it is not yet clear when these flights are planned. The governor of the Russian region of Krasnoyarsk, Alexander Uss believes that an alternative to Norway and flights from Khatanga is a great opportunity for the region to promote tourism, even if only 10 flights a year are organized from Khatanga to the North Pole.

The flight with the Antonov AN-74 from Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen to the ice camp Barneo takes 2½ hours. Landing happens on an ice floe about 2 meters thick, below which the Arctic Ocean is 4,000 meters deep at this point. (Image: Heiner Kubny)

If you want it faster you can book a flight to the northernmost point of the earth. However, this is only possible for a few weeks each year, in April.

As early as the end of March, Mi-8 helicopters are searching for a stable and viable ice floe near the North Pole on which to build the camp. What follows is a logistical tour de force. An Ilyushin Il-76 flies in construction material from Murmansk and drops bulldozers, fuel and material by parachute from 600 meters at the site of the camp. For safety reasons, the construction team will then jump from a height of 3,000 meters and land at the material depot. Immediately afterwards, the ice camp Barneo with a 1200 metre long runway will be built in 3 shifts, so that in a few weeks researchers and tourists from Spitsbergen will be able to visit Barneo.

The flight from Longyearbyen on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen to Barneo with an Antonov An-74 takes about 2.5 hours. With a helicopter one continues from there further in the direction of the geographic North Pole. A three-day tour with overnight stay in the Arctic costs 23,000 euros. (Image: Heiner Kubny)

Politician promotes Siberian village

In 2019, the trips were cancelled due to disagreements between Russia and Ukraine surrounding the Antonov AN-74. The Ukrainian pilots refused to fly to a ‘Russian polar station’ and left Spitsbergen for Ukraine without having achieved anything. In 2020, Norwegian Corona entry regulations prevented the flights. Likewise, it was 2021.

The governor of Russia’s Krasnoyarsk region, Alexander Uss, is now proposing to offer an alternative to Norway. He wants to encourage companies to launch from the northern Siberian village of Khatanga, according to the Tass news agency. “Even if we can only do ten flights a season, it will be a unique product,” Uss said.

The flight from Khatanga has some advantages for visitors from Russia and China. The way via Siberia is much shorter and easier and safe from sanctions. In addition, the flight from Khatanga is “visa free” for Russians and Chinese.

However, flights from Spitsbergen will still account for the majority of activities. For visitors from Europe Barneo is easy to reach and also without entry regulations, if a virus does not put a spanner in the works again.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

Link to aeroTHELEGRAPH

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