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Last Updated: Saturday January 12 2008 13:51 GMT

In pictures: Antarctic ice runway

people walking on the ice runway

Australian scientists have made their first frosty landing on a runway made of ice in Antarctica.

People getting off the plane

It's the first passenger plane to land on the 4km-long Wilkins Runway and marks the start of a weekly air link between the two continents. But sadly it's not open to tourists.

An aerial view of the Australian Antarctic research base at Casey

It's great news for scientists though as the flight takes just 4.5 hours from Hobart, Tasmania. It used to take them five weeks to reach the remote Casey research base by boat!

An igloo toilet at the glacial runway

Facilities are a bit basic - check out this igloo toilet - but being able to make the trip so quickly means the experts can speed up the way they work.

Passengers, scientists and ground crew pose in front of the plane

Eight resident scientists who've spent the past two years building the icy runway were among those who welcomed the visitors in the midnight sun and temperatures of -17C.

Pilots in the cockpit of the plane as it flies into the midnight sun.

The pilot had no problems landing on the ice and even said he thought it was smoother than those at a lot of traditional airports!



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