Norse Atlantic Airways lands very first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in Antarctica
Norse Atlantic Airways, self-proclaimed as “The Explorer’s Airline“, proudly marked the first landing of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (registered LN-FNC and named Everglades) at Troll Airfield (QAT) in Antarctica. The historic event unfolded at 02:01 local time on Wednesday, 15 November.
This momentous achievement was the result of a collaborative effort between Norse Atlantic Airways, the Norwegian Polar Institute, and Aircontact, Scandinavia’s largest air broker firm. The mission aimed to transport essential research equipment and scientists to the remote Troll research station in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica.
On board flight N0787 were 45 passengers, including scientists from the Norwegian Polar Institute and other countries, destined for various stations in Antarctica. The flight also carried a substantial payload of 12 tonnes of essential research equipment crucial for Antarctic exploration.
The Dreamliner embarked on its journey from Oslo on November 13th, making a pit stop in Cape Town, South Africa, before facing the challenging Antarctic leg. Departing Cape Town at 23:03 on Wednesday, the aircraft spent over 40 hours in South Africa before achieving its historic landing at Troll Airfield.
A historic moment for Norse??The first ever @BoeingAirplanes B787 Dreamliner to land in Antarctica! We are incredibly honoured to be a part of this piece of history, marking a very special milestone for Norse. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Norwegian Polar… pic.twitter.com/i2V1ZQZFAe— Norse Atlantic Airways (@flynorse) November 16, 2023
Bjørn Tore Larsen, CEO of Norse Atlantic Airways, expressed immense pride and honour in achieving this historic milestone, stating, “It is a great honour and excitement on behalf of the entire team Norse that we have achieved together a momentous moment of landing the first 787 Dreamliner. 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.”
Antarctica, with its lack of conventional paved runways, posed a unique challenge. Norse Atlantic Airways overcame this obstacle by landing on a ‘blue ice runway’ at Troll Airfield, measuring 3,000 metres long and 60 metres wide. The Norwegian Polar Institute operates the research station located in Jutulsessen in Queen Maud Land, approximately 235 kilometres from the coast.
Camilla Brekke, Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute, emphasised the environmental gain achieved by using large and modern aircraft for the mission, stating, “Landing such a large aircraft opens up entirely new possibilities for logistics at Troll, which will also contribute to strengthening Norwegian research in Antarctica.”
Aircontact, Scandinavia’s largest air broker firm, played a crucial role in coordinating the mission. Daniel Carey, air broker and spokesperson for Aircontact, highlighted the importance of involving civil aviation authorities for operational quality and security, ensuring their approval ahead of the mission. He noted, “The Dreamliner’s huge cargo space makes it perfect for these flights.”
Paul Erlandsson, Field Service Representative from Boeing, commented on the Dreamliner’s capabilities, stating, “The 787 Dreamliner stands out for its exceptional fuel efficiency, enabling a round-trip flight from Cape Town to Antarctica without the need for refuelling. This not only ensures swift turnarounds but also significantly benefits the environment by eliminating logistical complexities of transporting, storing, and handling fuel in Antarctica.” Erlandsson also praised the aircraft’s cargo capacity, designed for easy handling of pallets and containers, making it ideal for missions of this nature.