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History of Arctic aviation reaches almost 200 years back and it is as old as the first attempt of John Poweles Cheyne, to fly to the North Pole by balloon. However, it is the S.A Andree´s balloon voyage, dated for 1897, commonly considered as the commencement of Arctic aviation.

At the beginning of 20th century, the Russian aircraft was the first one to fly beyond the Arctic Circle, through the territory of Nova Zemlya, looking for the Georgiy Sedov´s North Pole expedition and managed to save two of his companions.

The period of the Cold War created difficulties for the commercial flights to pass over the Russian and Chinese airspaces as those were concerned about the possibility of trans-polar bombing attacks. During that period of time, military airships travelling from North America to Europe or Asia must have used air corridors from Alaska through Greenland and further South.

After the Cold War ended, commercial aviation through the Arctic became the reality as Russian government opened the air space over Siberia for international aviation. In 1993, The Russian - American Coordinating Group for Air Traffic was created, to control and organize international commercial flights across Russian air space.

By the end of 1998, there were four new cross-polar routes opened as the Russian Government faced increasing demand for the flights further into Siberia. Nowadays those are commonly used by various American and Asian airlines.

21st century brings significant increase of air traffic demand into the northern regions, affecting Arctic environment into major extend. The International Air Transportation Association established the Pacific Project to face that demand and promote seamless airspace to minimize fuel consumption and in the same time environmental impact of the aircrafts.

It is likely that before the year 2025 the air traffic over the Arctic will double as an advanced technology allows larger and faster airships into the Arctic air space.

Source: International Air Transport Association

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