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Boeing 787 Arrives in Antarctica
The historic flight marks one of the largest-ever aircraft to transport researchers to the continent.
Norse Atlantic Airways has made history by becoming the first airline to land a Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Antarctica. With the apt flight number N0787, the aircraft – named “Everglades” – touched down at Troll Airfield (QAT) on Wednesday, November 15 at 02:01 local time. This marks one of the largest-ever charter aircraft to operate to the desolate continent, a close contender to Hi Fly’s A340-300.
The flight departed from the airline’s Oslo base on November 13 and made a 40-hour long stop in Cape Town, South Africa, before embarking on the Antarctic leg.
Contracted by the Norwegian Polar Institute and Aircontact, the charter mission transported 45 passengers, including scientists from the Norwegian Polar Institute and other countries, as well as 12 tons of research equipment to the remote Troll research station in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica.
Bjørn Tore Larsen, CEO of Norse Atlantic Airways, said in a press release: “It is a great honor and excitement on behalf of the entire team Norse that we have achieved together a momentous moment of landing the first 787 Dreamliner.”
Landing on Ice
Antarctica lacks paved runways, so the carrier’s 787 landed on a nearly 10,000-foot-long “blue ice runway” at Troll Airfield. The Norwegian Polar Institute operates the research station, which is located in Jutulsessen in Queen Maud Land, approximately 146 miles inland.
The use of the Dreamliner for this mission is expected to have several benefits, including reduced emissions, improved logistics capabilities, and better cargo capacity. Camilla Brekke, Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute, said that the use of the Dreamliner “can help reduce overall emissions and the environmental footprint in Antarctica.”
Daniel Carey, an air broker and spokesperson for Aircontact, the oldest air brokerage firm globally, said that the Dreamliner’s large cargo capacity makes it “perfect for these flights.”
Paul Erlandsson, a Field Service Representative from Boeing, said in a press release: “The 787 Dreamliner stands out for its exceptional fuel efficiency, enabling a round-trip flight from Cape Town to Antarctica without the need for refueling.”
The successful landing of the Dreamliner in Antarctica is a first-of-its-kind mission for Norse Atlantic Airways, which is a European start-up offering low-cost transatlantic flights. Not only a milestone for Norse, but also for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, testing its capabilities in a challenging operating environment.
After just over four hours on the ground in Antarctica, LN-FNC returned back to Cape Town where it will eventually reposition to Europe.
“In the spirit of exploration, we are proud to have a hand in this important and unique mission. It is a true testament to our highly trained and skilled pilots and crew, and our state-of-the-art Boeing aircraft,” Larsen added.
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