Norse Atlantic Airways made aviation history with an extraordinary landing of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner on an ice runway in Antarctica. Departing from Cape Town, the Dreamliner touched down

at the Troll Airfield, unveiling a remarkable achievement in aviation that diverged from conventional flight conditions.

This unprecedented landing occurred on a "blue ice runway," a 3,000-meter long and 60-meter wide strip sculpted from the snow and ice of Antarctica. Illuminated by the brightness of the southern hemisphere's summer sun, the Dreamliner's touchdown marked the first instance of this widebody aircraft reaching the sixth continent.

Flight N0787 wasn't your typical passenger route. Among its 45 passengers were scientists from the Norwegian Polar Institute, transporting 12 tons of vital equipment destined for the Troll research station in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. Initiating its journey from Oslo on November 13, the aircraft made a stopover in Cape Town before its historic southward flight culminating in the record-setting landing on Wednesday night.

The Dreamliner's substantial cargo capacity made it the ideal choice for this mission, facilitating the transportation of essential research materials, as explained by Daniel Carey from Aircontact, the flight's broker. Fuel efficiency was also a contributing factor, enabling the aircraft to complete the round trip between Antarctica and Cape Town without requiring refueling, according to Paul Erlandsson, Boeing's field service representative.

Bjørn Tore Larsen, CEO of Norse Atlantic Airways, expressed immense pride in this groundbreaking achievement, acknowledging the efforts of the highly skilled crew and the cutting-edge capabilities of the Boeing aircraft. Camilla Brekke, Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute, highlighted the environmental benefits of using larger, modern aircraft for expeditions to Antarctica. She emphasized how this approach significantly minimizes emissions and ecological impact, fostering sustainable research practices in the fragile Antarctic environment.

The successful landing of a large-scale aircraft like the Dreamliner ushers in new possibilities for logistical support at the Troll Airfield, promising to bolster Norwegian research endeavors in Antarctica. This historic event underscores the potential for innovative exploration and environmentally conscious scientific expeditions in one of the world's most remote and challenging terrains. Photo by Aldo Bidini, Wikimedia commons.