Exploring the Mystery: Why Commercial Planes Avoid the Antarctic Continent?

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Are you curious about the ice-covered wilderness that surrounds the South Pole? If you’ve ever searched for a flight route on a map, you may have noticed an oddity: there are no commercial routes over the world’s coldest, windiest continent. In this blog post, we will explore why planes cannot fly over Antarctica. So grab a cup of your warmest beverage, and let’s embark on a journey to the southernmost point on Earth.

The Short Answer

The short answer to this question is because there are no airports in Antarctica. That’s right! Antarctica has no commercial airports—the closest ones are located on the tip of South America and in New Zealand and Australia, respectively. And even if there were airports, the weather conditions would make it extremely dangerous to fly over the continent.

Why No Airports?

Digging a little deeper, the question arises: why aren’t there any airports in Antarctica? One answer lies in the extremely harsh and unpredictable weather that characterizes the region. In winter months, temperatures can drop below minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and in the summer, they rarely exceed 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Additionally, Antarctica is characterized by strong winds that can easily top 100 miles per hour. These factors make it incredibly difficult for planes to fly over the area. Furthermore, the ice sheet is constantly moving, creating cracks and fissures that can be dangerous for planes to navigate. Because of this, researchers and scientists who study the region can only access the continent by ship or helicopter.

The History of Flights Over Antarctica

Despite the severe weather conditions in Antarctica, there have been flights over the continent for decades. The first recorded flight took place in 1928, when the Australian explorer Sir Hubert Wilkins flew over the continent in a small airplane. Since then, there have been many other flights by explorers, researchers, and military personnel.

However, the flights that do occur are usually scientific or exploratory in nature, rather than commercial. In fact, in 1979, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) banned all commercial flights over the continent, citing safety concerns. Since then, no commercial airlines have attempted to fly over Antarctica.

So, Why Can’t Planes Fly Over Antarctica?

To sum up, planes can’t fly over Antarctica because there are no commercial airports, and the weather is too extreme and unpredictable for safe flight. Even though planes have flown over the continent in the past, these flights were usually for research purposes and not for commercial travel. It seems unlikely that commercial flights over Antarctica will be a possibility anytime in the near future.


As you can see, the reasons why planes can’t fly over Antarctica are many and varied. The harsh weather and lack of infrastructure make commercial travel in the region nearly impossible. Although planes have flown over the continent before, these flights were usually for research purposes and were conducted under very specific conditions. It seems likely that planes will continue to avoid Antarctica in the interest of safety and practicality.

Thanks for joining us on this journey to explore why planes can’t fly over Antarctica. Hopefully, you found this blog post informative and interesting. Stay tuned for more travel-related content!

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