Norse Atlantic Airways, known as The Explorer's Airline, proudly marks a groundbreaking milestone in aviation history with the first landing of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner, registration LN-FNC, named "Everglades," at Troll Airfield (QAT) in Antarctica. The momentous achievement took place at 02:01 local time on Wednesday, November 15th, 2023
Led by Norse Atlantic Airways and contracted by the Norwegian Polar Institute and Aircontact, Scandinavia’s largest and leading air broker firm, this historic mission transported essential research equipment and scientists to the remote Troll research station in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica.
Aboard flight N0787 were 45 passengers, including scientists from the Norwegian Polar Institute and other countries, destined for different stations in Antarctica. The flight also transported 12 tons of essential research equipment crucial for Antarctic exploration.
Starting from Oslo on November 13th, the Dreamliner made a stop in Cape Town, South Africa, before embarking on the challenging Antarctic leg. Departing Cape Town at 23:03 on Wednesday, the aircraft spent over 40 hours in South Africa before its historic landing at Troll Airfield.
Bjørn Tore Larsen, CEO of Norse Atlantic Airways, expressed immense pride and honor in achieving this historic milestone:
"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. 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 lacks conventional paved runways; hence Norse Atlantic Airways landed on a ‘blue ice runway’, 3,000 meters long and 60 meters wide, at Troll Airfield. The Norwegian Polar Institute operates the research station located in Jutulsessen in Queen Maud Land, approximately 235 kilometers from the coast.
- Environmentally friendly
Camilla Brekke, Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute, states in a press release:
“The most crucial aspect is the environmental gain we can achieve by using large and modern aircraft of this type for Troll. This can help reduce overall emissions and the environmental footprint in Antarctica” says Brekke before adding, “Landing such a large aircraft opens up entirely new possibilities for logistics at Troll, which will also contribute to strengthening Norwegian research in Antarctica.”
Substantial cargo capacity
Daniel Carey, air broker and spokesperson for Aircontact, the oldest air broker globally, specializing in providing aviation services and serving as an important link for aviation missions, highlighted the importance of involving civil aviation authorities for operational quality and security and securing their approval ahead of the mission.
"We've been involved in missions to the Antarctic for years. The Dreamliner's huge cargo space makes it perfect for these flights", added Carey.
Paul Erlandsson, Field Service Representative from Boeing, commented on the Dreamliner's capabilities:
"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. This not only ensures swift turnarounds but also significantly benefits the environment by eliminating logistical complexities of transporting, storing, and handling fuel in Antarctica. Paired with the aircraft's impressive 150 cubic meters of cargo capacity distributed across three cargo holds, and a cargo loading system designed for easy handling of pallets and containers, the Dreamliner excels at meeting the demands of this mission."