World’s Most Unique Route? TUI To Launch Flights From Paris To Svalbard

Tour and airline operator TUI have announced a scheduled service to the world’s most northerly airport, Longyearbyen in Svalbard, from Paris. Operating once a week throughout June, the flight will be operated by a Boeing 737-800 and is scheduled to take around four and a half hours.

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Svalbard is the most northerly point of Europe. Image: Wikitravel

TUIfly Belgium have scheduled one of the most unique routes for the month of June. Connecting from Paris, Charles de Gaulle, passengers can enjoy a direct connection to the most northerly airport in the world.

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Longyearbyen is the world’s most northerly airport. Photo: Wikimedia

In just over four and a half hours, the scheduled Boeing 737-800 will arrive at Longyearbyen (LYR) on the island of Svalbard. It will be the first time a direct flight has been offered from anywhere outside of Scandinavia to the remote and beautiful island.

Longyearbyen
Most of the population of Svalbard live in Longyearbyen. Photo: Christopher Michel via Flickr

Why would you want to go to Svalbard?

Svalbard is located mid-way between Norway and the North Pole and is the most northerly point of Europe. The untouched wilderness and unique mix of wildlife has fascinated travelers for decades. There are only 3,000 residents on the island, 2,000 of which live in Longyearbyen, and there are actually more polar bears living there than people.

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There are more polar bears in Svalbard than people. Image: Wikimedia

Visitors are assured of a once-in-a-lifetime, unique experience in Svalbard. From whale watching to dog sledding, nothing here is run of the mill. It’s one of the best places in the world to see the northern lights, but don’t go in the summer if this is your goal as the sun shines for 24 hours a day.

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The sun shines for 24 hours a day during the summer in Longyearbyen. Photo: Wikimedia

Despite its extreme latitude, the climate in Svalbard is relatively mild, with average temperatures in Longyearbyen ranging from -14°C in the winter to a balmy 6°C in summer. If eating at the world’s most northerly restaurant, exploring abandoned Russian mining towns and taking a snowmobile safari appeal to you, TUI just made it easier than ever to get to this unique destination.

Northern lights
See the northern lights in Svalbard. Photo: Pexels

TUI’s flights

According to Routes Online, TUIfly Belgium will be offering a once a week scheduled charter service to Svalbard. Only scheduled for June so far, the service will operate from Paris Charles De Gaulle to Longyearbyen on Sundays only.

TUIfly belgium 737-800
The route will be operated by a 737-800. Image: Wikimedia

Beginning on June 2nd, the route is scheduled to operate as follows:

  • Flight TB9007 from Paris (CDG) at 0820 – arrives at Longyearbyen (LYR) at 1305
  • Flight TB9008 from Longyearbyen (LYR) at 1400 – arrives at Paris (CDG) at 1845

The scheduled aircraft for this route is the Boeing 737-800. We don’t, as yet, have pricing details for the route When it launches, TUI will be the first airline to offer direct flight to Svalbard from anywhere outside of Scandinavia in history.

TUI flights
Image: GCMap

Who else flies to Svalbard?

The only other airlines flying to Longyearbyen are Scandinavian Airline Systems (SAS) and Norwegian Air, both of which require a stopover in either Oslo or Tromsø before reaching Svalbard.

SAS operates scheduled flights Sundays to Fridays from Oslo, with flight times lasting around 4.5 hours and costing between $150 and $350 each way. From Tromsø, SAS fly Sundays to Thursdays with flight times of 1.5 hours and costing $100 – $300 each way.

SAS
SAS fly from Norway to Svalbard. Photo: Wikimedia

Budget airline Norwegian also flies to the island, but only from Oslo. Their schedule offers connections on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and cost from $115 up to $400 or more.

Although these more frequent connections are certainly more convenient in terms of when you go, they all require connecting through Norway, which adds another layer of complication. Because Svalbard is not part of the Schengen zone, those travelling on Schengen visas may encounter paperwork problems when transiting at the airport.

On the upside, SAS consider flights to Longyearbyen from both Oslo and Tromsø as domestic. This means that an SAS EuroBonus award ticket to Svalbard from anywhere in Scandinavia will cost just 10,000 points.

As a founding member of Star Alliance, points gained with any of the alliance partners can be used on SAS flights. These include Air Canada, Singapore, United and ANA. They also codeshare with a number of other, non-alliance airlines including Icelandair and Etihad.

Would you go to Svalbard? Have you been? Let us know in the comments below.

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