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Norse Plans to Fly Dreamliner to Antarctica
This will be the first time that a Boeing 787 Dreamliner has been used to fly to Antarctica.
Norwegian low-cost carrier Norse Atlantic confirmed that it plans to fly a Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Antarctica. As first reported by Ishrion Aviation on Twitter (X), it will be a one-off charter flight that originates from Norway with a stopover on the way.
A spokesperson for the airline told AirlineGeeks that the charter will be for the Norwegian Polar Institute. This will be the first time that a 787 Dreamliner has been used to fly an Antarctica charter mission, though a variety of aircraft have been used in the past. It will also be the first time Norse Atlantic is flying to the continent.
Norway to Antarctica
It is not yet known what the exact purpose of the flight is, though most charters that run between Norway and Antarctica are used to carry Norwegian scientists and provisions used for polar research missions. In the past, Icelandair has used its 767 to fly supplies and scientists from Norway down to Antarctica in 2021. The charter operation in 2021 made a stopover in Cape Town and landed at Troll Airfield in Antarctica, with IATA code QAT. The airfield is operated by the Norwegian Polar Institute to support its Troll Research Station.
Past Antarctica Charters
Antarctica charter flights mostly serve either tourists or scientists. These charter flights often use a wide range of aircraft, from A319s to A340s. The first A340 flight that touched down in Antarctica ever took place in 2021, operated by Hi Fly from Cape Town to the ice runway at Wolf’s Fang resort. The flight took around five hours and was chartered by tourism company White Desert.
Titan Airways has also operated its 757 to Antarctica to carry marathoners as a part of the World Marathon Challenge back in 2020. Though more often than not, the charter flights to Antarctica fly on smaller jets such as the Gulfstream, while scientific missions often deploy jets from militaries around the world. U.S. research missions have a history of using Air Force LC-130s to transport supplies.
In the past, most charters fly to Antarctica through either South Africa, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand or Australia. One interesting flight was done by a Lufthansa A350 during COVID-19 and flew from Hamburg, Germany to the Falkland Islands. It was the longest flight in the company’s history and though technically not qualifying as an Antarctica charter – as it does not touch the continent – the flight was to transport scientists who were on polar research missions.
Some airlines operate charter flights that do not land in Antarctica but rather fly over the continent, providing a sightseeing opportunity for passengers. Qantas is known to fly Antarctica scenic flights from several Australian cities on its 787 Dreamliner. These flights take around 12 hours and are marketed as ‘Antarctica in a day.’
Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023 at 7:22 p.m. ET to correct a misprint.
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