Shipping Portlet - Ship sailing

air shipping routes over the Arctic

Trans-Arctic shipping routes appear to emerge as the fastest way of transportation between North America and Asia. Flying direct paths across the uninhabited Arctic ice cap region, helps aircrafts to reduce the fuel burns, travel time and associated environmental carbon emissions.

Polar Route was defined in the middle of 20th century, as an aircraft route lying north of 78 degrees north latitude, across the north polar operations region, covering the territories north of Alaska and Ural Mountains. It became fully passable after the Russian Government opened their air space for the commercial traffic and cross - polar routes, named Polar One, Two, Three and Four were established.

The first demo polar flight was made into Siberia by the Chinese airline, Cathay Pacific with the hub at Hong Kong International Airport.

Since 1998, after the first successful flight made by Cathay Pacific, more and more airlines have been declaring their interest in using air Polar Routes. Nowadays, almost all international commercial flights between North America and Southeast Asia, like United Airlines, Continental or KrasAir, are directed to over-cross the Russian territory.

Air Polar Routes are attractive to commercial airlines mostly because they allow non-stop flight operations for certain city pairs which usually generate large passenger traffic that used to be served with the compulsory fuel stop. The map on the right presents main locations of the hub airports connected by cross-polar routes.

The region of Siberia, Russia, has a number of large cities where each of the polar route locates its hub airport. Novosibirsk Oblast, placed approximately 17 kilometers from the biggest Siberian city, where the fastest growing Russian airline is headquartered, represents one of them. Both Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk hub airports are well equipped to serve Polar One Route, while Polar Two is operated from Irkutsk and Polar Three and Four from Yakutsk. Their runways are usually over 3000 long and capable of handling large four engine aircrafts.

Nowadays, Russian, American and Asian hub airports, with the support from local governments and international institutions, launch major airport reconstructions aimed at making the international transit centers for both cargo and commercial transits between Asia and North America.

To see main Arctic port of entries, please visit our interactive database.

Source: Isavia International Civil Aviation Organization

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