Open Jaw: Your views on the polar plane route

Where readers write back

"Airlines cleared to use Santa's short-cut": on Christmas Eve, The Independent revealed new rules that open up the world to fuel-efficient twin-jets, promising faster, cleaner and cheaper flights.

Despite the new and less restrictive regulations, I doubt the travelling public will have an appetite for being cooped up aboard an "aluminium tube" for the solid 18 hours it would take to fly from London to Fiji.

Airbus and Boeing have offered the world's airlines ultra long-haul aeroplanes for some years now. The A340-500, unhindered by restrictions because of its four-engined specification, and easily capable of an 18-hour, non-stop stride, was a poor seller right up to its end of production this year.

Human endurance limitations and thin economic benefits for such exotic routes are unlikely to result in Sir Richard Branson's Dreamliners going pole-vaulting anytime soon.

Adam Sykes

I note your travel correspondent, Simon Calder, was able to trumpet Virgin's delight at the latest aero-environmental breakthrough. So certain was he that this was good news for the planet, that he didn't feel the need to gain the endorsement of the environmental NGOs – only Balpa, Boeing and Sir Richard himself. Enough said. I'm sure Friends of the Earth and WWF would have been eager to lend their support for the idea of flying over the Arctic to save fuel.

A by-product of such a move might be to enable trippers en route to their beach holidays in Fiji to see polar bears jumping from melting iceberg to melting iceberg while, at the same time, leaving behind vapour trails to ensure that their fast-disappearing homes become that bit warmer.

John Webb

Sir Richard Branson looked forward to new sightseeing opportunities: "Apart from the stunning destinations on arrival, the Arctic scenery will be just amazing on the way." Except the cabin crew will come around after the meal service and close all the window blinds. On the 787 it's done by the purser flicking a switch, so they are impossible to see through.

Robin Peacock

There is going to have to be some Arctic survival kit carried in the cabin. Like it or not, emergency diversion to aerodromes where temperatures are dangerously low will require protection for Hawaiian shirt-wearing holidaymakers.

All very well making a safe landing, but then consideration would need to be taken before deplaning passengers into life-threatening temperatures between the aircraft and the terminal. Likewise, a diversion caused by an aircraft decompression could cause cabin temperatures to drop to life-threatening levels.

The same could happen on trans-Siberian air routes today during winter, whether on two- or four-engined aircraft.

"TheGarden"

On my office wall at home is a certificate given to my father by Air France to mark his trans-polar flight from Tokyo to Paris.

This routed via Anchorage and, as well as crossing the North Pole, it also crossed the International Date Line. This was in 1962 (50 years ago!). No twin-engine options then, it was a Boeing 707.

Mind you, I wouldn't fancy a flight that far on two engines. I am reminded of the legendary Captain O P Jones, senior pilot of BOAC. When asked why he insisted on flying in four-engined aeroplanes he is said to have replied that it was because there were no five-engined planes available.

Mike Ingham, Lincoln

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Manager

    £50 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Mana...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Day In a Page

    Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

    Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

    ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
    Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

    Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

    Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
    'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
    BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

    BBC Television Centre

    A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
    Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

    My George!

    Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
    10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world