Home Travel Historic Boeing 787 Flight Marks Maiden Voyage to Antarctica from Cape Town

Historic Boeing 787 Flight Marks Maiden Voyage to Antarctica from Cape Town

by InnsCape

In a groundbreaking achievement, the inaugural Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight to Antarctica has completed its journey, touching down successfully at Troll Airfield. Conducted by Norse Atlantic, a Norwegian low-cost carrier, the mission transported scientists and essential provisions destined for the Troll research station.

Norse Atlantic’s Dreamliner Expedition to Antarctica The momentous Norse Atlantic flight, designated N0787, landed at Troll Airfield (QAT) in Queen Maud Land at 02:01 local time on a Thursday morning. Originating in Oslo (OSL), the journey commenced on November 13, with a stopover in Cape Town (CPT) en route to the Antarctic region. The aircraft spent more than 40 hours in South Africa before departing from Cape Town at 23:03 on a Wednesday.

The decision to operate this unique Dreamliner charter flight to Antarctica was announced earlier this month by Norse Atlantic. Onboard the flight were scientists from the Norwegian Polar Institute, accompanied by crucial supplies bound for the Troll research station, situated approximately 7 kilometers from Troll Airfield.

A Landmark Achievement for Boeing 787 in Antarctica While Boeing 787 Dreamliners have previously been utilized for scenic flights over Antarctica by Australian carrier Qantas, this marks the first instance of a Dreamliner actually landing on the continent. Notably, Icelandic carrier Icelandair had previously flown Boeing 767s to Antarctica, but this event represents the pioneering journey of a 787 to the icy expanse.

Challenges of Antarctic Flights Flying a sizable aircraft to Antarctica poses significant challenges, particularly during the landing and takeoff phases due to freezing conditions. Unlike conventional airports, Antarctica lacks paved runways, requiring aircraft to utilize blue ice runways. Troll Airfield’s runway, for instance, measures 3,000 meters in length and 60 meters in width.

The video footage of an Icelandair 767 taking off from Troll Airfield in 2021 provides a glimpse into the unique conditions of Antarctic air travel. Climate conditions also present obstacles, as exemplified by a recent incident where a team of scientists had to wait an additional week for an Icelandair plane to arrive. Currently, in the Southern Hemisphere’s summer season, most flights to and from Antarctica occur during this period.

Aircraft Details: LN-FNC The chosen aircraft for this groundbreaking mission is a Norse Atlantic Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner with the registration LN-FNC. This widebody aircraft, five years old, was previously operated under the Norwegian subsidiary Norwegian UK until its grounding in March 2020. Acquired by aviation lessor AerCap, LN-FNC joined Norse Atlantic’s fleet in June 2022, contributing to the carrier’s all-Dreamliner fleet consisting of ten 787-9s.

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