A Boeing 757, a passenger jet used by millions of people a year, has been landed on a blue ice “runway” in Antarctica for the first time.
The flight, by Icelandic airline Loftleidir, saw the aircraft touch down at Union Glacier on Thursday.
It was an expedition which had been in the planning for the past seven months, the website Mashable, reported.
Normally the packed blue ice is considered only suitable for cargo aircraft and military jets, because of the absence of a conventional tarmac runway.
But the successful test flight could expand Antarctica as a tourist destination – even though the airline does take around 500 visitors a year to Antarctica.
According to the airline’s blog, it is looking to fit out a Boeing 757 with 62 business class seats, suggesting that it is aiming to attract wealthy visitors to one of the last wildernesses on earth.
Those who do make the journey will be able to visit Mount Vinson, Antarctica’s highest peak, the South Pole and emperor penguins on the Weddell Sea coast.
Other passengers are likely to include scientists working in the region.
Although the Boeing 757 was the first commercial aircraft to land at Union Glacier, an Airbus A319 was landed at Casey, Antarctica in 2008.