Norse Atlantic Airways flew a Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Antarctica in unique conditions on Wednesday. Instead of a usual runway, they landed on a “blue ice runway” carved from snow and ice, 9840 feet long and 100 feet wide.
This happened at Troll Airfield around 2 a.m., during the bright sunlight of the southern hemisphere’s summer. It was the first time a Dreamliner, a big plane carrying up to 330 passengers, landed on the sixth continent.
But this flight, numbered N0787, wasn’t a regular one for passengers. It carried 45 people, mainly scientists from the Norwegian Polar Institute. They had 12 tons of research equipment bound for the Troll research station in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica.
This wasn’t a quick journey. The plane left Oslo on November 13, stopped in Cape Town, and then flew south for the groundbreaking landing.
Daniel Carey from Aircontact, the flight’s organizer, praised the Dreamliner’s cargo space and fuel efficiency. The aircraft managed the entire trip without refueling, making it suitable for this mission.
Norse Atlantic Airways CEO, Bjørn Tore Larsen, expressed pride in achieving this milestone. He emphasized the teamwork and the significance of their involvement in such a unique mission.
Camilla Brekke, the Norwegian Polar Institute director, highlighted the environmental benefit of using larger, modern aircraft for reaching Antarctica. She emphasized how this approach can cut emissions and lessen the environmental impact on the delicate continent.
Moreover, the successful landing of a large aircraft at Troll Airfield opens up new logistics opportunities that can enhance Norwegian research efforts in Antarctica.