In a historic achievement, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner successfully landed on an icy runway in the remote region of Antarctica, marking a significant milestone for aviation and exploration. Operated by Norse Atlantic Airways, the flight named “Everglades” touched down at the Troll Airfield in Antarctica at 2:01 a.m. local time on Wednesday, becoming the largest plane to ever land on the frozen continent.
The momentous occasion was celebrated by Norse Atlantic CEO Bjørn Tore Larsen, who remarked, “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.”
The Dreamliner’s mission was to transport essential research equipment and scientists to the remote Troll research station in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica, according to a press release from Norse Atlantic. The flight, carrying 45 passengers, including scientists from the Norwegian Polar Institute, also transported 12 tons of research equipment crucial for Antarctic exploration.
The Norwegian Polar Institute, operating the research station in Queen Maud Land, emphasized the significance of landing such a large aircraft at Troll. Camilla Brekke, the director of the institute, stated, “Landing such a large aircraft opens up entirely new possibilities for logistics at Troll, which will also contribute to strengthening Norwegian research in Antarctica.”
One key advantage highlighted by Brekke is the potential environmental gain achieved by using larger and modern aircraft. The use of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner for transporting a larger load can contribute to reducing overall emissions and the environmental footprint in Antarctica.
The Everglades, which took off from Oslo, Norway, made a roughly 40-hour stop in Cape Town, South Africa, before embarking on its journey to Antarctica. The Dreamliner accomplished a round-trip flight from CapeTown to Antarctica without the need for refueling.
The landing on the “blue ice runway” at Troll Airfield, nearly 2 miles long and 200 feet wide, was captured in video footage. The landing, despite being historic, was described as uneventful and smooth as ice, showcasing the skill of the highly trained pilots and crew.
Norse Atlantic Airways expressed gratitude to the Norwegian Polar Institute and celebrated the role played by the Dreamliner in advancing Antarctic exploration. The successful landing not only marks a significant achievement in aviation but also opens up new possibilities for logistical support and environmental sustainability in Antarctica.