To avoid flying over Russia, Schultz plane crosses Arctic skies

German Chancellor Olaf Schulz's plane was forced to cross the North Pole to avoid flying in Russian airspace, while returning from a visit to Japan.

The German news agency reported that Schultz's Airbus A350XWB crossed the pole at around 13:00 (12:00 GMT).

The plane flew through Alaska, then turned west and flew over the Arctic Ocean, flew through Finland and reached Germany.

The agency added that the plane covered a distance of 12.3 thousand kilometers, and took 13 and a half hours.

If the chancellor's plane had flown through China and then Russia, the trip would have been shorter by an hour and 20 minutes.

The agency added that flights over the Arctic are rare, even for experienced pilots.

"It's exciting," said Luftwaffe captain Michael Wehrer, who piloted the plane. "These are things that are rarely done."

He added that this is his second trip over the North Pole.

Schultz traveled to Japan from Germany by detour, with the plane flying over Austria, Hungary, Romania, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China and South Korea, increasing travel time by two hours.

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