Image copyright AFP Image caption Steven Palomino with the Airbus A340 and its landing gear
For the first time ever, an Airbus A340 with its landing gear closed has touched down on Antarctica.
The aircraft of an extended range crossed into French territory around April/May to refuel.
Wreckage of the A330 has been recovered and is being flown to French nuclear research facilities in Reunion Island.
A four-day voyage to Reunion is expected in November.
End-to-end, the Airbus A340 aircraft was 19,500km (12,500 miles) long.
Image copyright AFP Image caption The plane is mainly made of aluminium
Image copyright AFP Image caption The aircraft also carried two mobile office units
The Airbus was used by French military and had been used for humanitarian aid, oil exploration and research in Asia, Africa and the North Atlantic.
It belonged to polar logistics contractor Hermes and was due to fly to the ice station at David Sheldrick, some 1,800km (1,120 miles) east of Dumont d’Urville on the Ross Sea.
An evacuation team successfully launched the aircraft’s landing gear – heavy equipment used to make steep climbs in good weather – without incident.
The plan for the aircraft to leave Antarctica before daybreak and carry out the brief flight to Reunion Island was dictated by the weather.
Overflights are rare and only when a plane needed to refuel.
Image copyright AFP Image caption The plane landed safely in French territory
Image copyright AFP Image caption A Hercules ER-101 was deployed to collect the remains of the A330
Image copyright AFP Image caption French President Emmanuel Macron visited Dumont d’Urville earlier this year
French President Emmanuel Macron visited Dumont d’Urville in March, seeing the terminal where a A330 Airbus was parked.
It was left there after the last flight by the Airbus World Carrier carrier on 18 March this year.
Image copyright AFP Image caption This picture taken on 5 April shows the landing gear wide open to the wind
Image copyright AFP Image caption The A330 has a twin-engined, twin-engined space plane
Image copyright AFP Image caption The helicopter service to David Sheldrick station has been critical to its survival
The Air France and South African Airways Dassault Falcon 50 were the first commercial flights across the Antarctic Peninsula.
They took off from Punta Arenas, Chile, and made their way across land ice and the South Sandwich Current to Antarctica, replacing the Antonov An-26.
The South Atlantic Wave Line was added to the historic route, making it the first point across the South Pole.
Topics: air-transport, science-and-technology, adelaide-5000, france, antarctica