Strong>Flight times will be slashed for Kiwi travellers as the roar of jet engines joins the ringing of sleigh bells over the North Pole.
Flight times will be slashed for Kiwi travellers as the roar of jet engines joins the ringing of sleigh bells over the North Pole.
New rules for long-haul passenger planes will allow extended-range Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner planes to fly over the pole, cutting flight times and fuel costs.
The new rules come after United States aviation authorities allowed an increase in the maximum distance a plane can stray from a diversion airport, from three hours' flying time to to five and a half, Britain's Daily Mail reported.
The extended operations rules dictate how far a two-engine plane can stray from an emergency landing site, in case of engine failure.
Air New Zealand is the first airline in the world to take advantage of the extended operations rules, with its Los Angeles to Auckland flights launched this month.
Chief pilot David Morgan said the rules meant an aeroplane was able to fly a more direct route between two cities, which was good for the environment.
"Less fuel is burned and less carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere. It's also good for customers because flights are potentially shorter and passengers could arrive sooner at their destinations.''
Although Air New Zealand does not currently fly over the North Pole, the extended operations rules would make that possible for future routes.
It would allow long-haul planes to fly non-stop from Britain to the Pacific without a stopover, cutting across the Arctic.
Air New Zealand operates four extended range Boeing 777-300ER planes, with one more on order, and has ordered eight 787-9 Dreamliners.