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Persepective - Raymond MarzulloThe opening of the new cross-polar routes earlier this year was another milestone in the evolution of the air traffic patterns in the Northern Hemisphere. In the past 10 years, various segments of airspace over the former Soviet Union have become available to foreign air carriers. Incrementally, airlines have been allowed access to trans-Siberian tracks and routes in the Russian Far East. The most recent network addition, the cross-polar routes, fills one of the last voids in the air-route system.

Much has been made of the novelty of cross-polar flight, but the reality is that airlines have been flying through the Arctic region for more than 40 years. Of course, during this time technology has improved dramatically in areas such as navigation, communications, and meteorology. But perhaps the most remarkable improvement has been in the reliability of our airplanes and their systems. The 777, the most modern jetliner in the industry, has the best reliability of any widebody airplane ever built. With a diversion/turnback rate half of that of competing airplanes, the 777 is an airplane you can depend on to fly over the pole or anywhere in the world.

Beyond all the experience and advances in technology, more always can be done to improve the safety and efficiency of flight operations, which is why we at Boeing continue to set ourselves apart in supporting our customers on issues related to cross-polar operations. No manufacturer has done more to expand the knowledge base or help airlines prepare for polar flight.

Boeing developed a sophisticated fuel temperature prediction model for airline use in dispatch planning. We've also partnered with numerous international airlines, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, and the Russian State Civil Aviation Authority to document the aviation infrastructure in the northern and eastern reaches of the Russian Federation. And, to further enhance operational capabilities, Boeing has launched an initiative to develop advanced approach procedures at potential emergency airports along the polar routes. All these technical developments are featured in a comprehensive polar-routes article in this issue of Aero.

The opening of the new cross-polar routes presents tremendous opportunities for air travelers and airlines alike, especially when it comes to giving airlines a competitive advantage. Boeing is proud to have played a part in the building momentum, including recently sponsoring an open conference in Thailand on the practical aspects of polar operations. We remain committed to continuing to help airlines start and expand successful operations on these routes.

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