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Glacier in Svalbard (photo: Visit Norway)

TUI reveals surprise Svalbard flights

TUI fly Belgium is offering a charter service from Paris to the top of the world during the month of June.

TUI fly Belgium is offering a scheduled charter service to Svalbard, the archipelago in the far north of Norway, during the month of June.

The Belgian carrier and TUI Group subsidiary plans the flights to depart from Paris Charles de Gaulle, Europe’s second-largest airport, for Longyearbyen as a once-a-week route on Sundays.

The service will be on offer from June 2 to June 23, taking place with a Boeing 737-800.

The flights will depart CDG at 08:20, arriving at Longyearbyen at 13:05, then leaving Svalbard at 14:00 with an arrival back in Paris at 18:45.

The only other airlines flying to Svalbard Airport are Norwegian from Oslo and SAS from both Oslo and Tromsø.

Unusual activities
Svalbard is the most northerly point in Europe and Longyearbyen the most northerly airport in the world. It has little air access, let alone attention from big tour operators, making TUI’s choice to launch four-and-a-half hour flights there an interesting one.

It will be the first time a direct flight has been offered there from anywhere outside of Scandinavia, Simple Flying points out.

Midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, Svalbard has only 3,000 residents, 2,000 of whom live in Longyearbyen. It is estimated that there are more polar bears living there than people.

Activities include whale watching, dog sledding, snowmobile safaris, eating at the world’s most northerly restaurant and visiting abandoned mining towns. The northern lights can be witnessed too – but not in summer as it is daylight 24 hours a day.

Svalbard is not part of the Schengen zone, so a certain amount of paperwork may be needed if a Schengen visa is required.

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