TechHistoric first landing in Antarctica

Historic first landing in Antarctica

The Dreamliner landed in Antarctica.
The Dreamliner landed in Antarctica.
Images source: © Norwegian Polar Institute

7:23 AM EST, November 20, 2023

Norse Atlantic Airways announced that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has touched down in Antarctica. This historic landing occurred on a snowy and icy runway.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has now landed on all seven continents. This powerful passenger plane has completed its maiden voyage to Antarctica, marking an extreme adventure that was executed for a noble cause and may occur more often in the future.

The Dreamliner's inaugural landing in Antarctica

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner landed in the Antarctic at Troll Airport in Queen Maud Land. Mere miles from the Norwegian Antarctic station, this small privately-owned airport caters to polar explorers and is designed to handle small-to-medium-sized aircraft. The runway there is 10,827 feet long and 197 feet wide.

Meanwhile, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a broad-bodied passenger aircraft. Depending on the model, it ranges from 187 to 207 feet in length, and its wingspan varies between 170 and 197 feet. Hence, it managed to land expediently despite the snowy and icy conditions.

Flight N0787 of Norse Atlantic Airways was not an ordinary passenger flight. Although unnecessary in Antarctica, the chances of seeing the Dreamliner again may increase.

Dreamliner's future in Antarctica

The Norwegian Polar Institute chartered the flight, transporting 45 scientists and their 13.2 tons of equipment aboard the aircraft. The Dreamliner successfully carried out its mission, suggesting that this was not its last Antarctic expedition.

The historic landing of this passenger behemoth ushers in new logistical possibilities.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner boasts substantial cargo space despite being a large passenger aircraft. Its fuel efficiency also cannot be overlooked. Its maiden voyage from Norway to Antarctica necessitated a stopover, but the Dreamliner accomplished the subsequent leg back from Cape Town, South Africa, without refueling.

The Dreamliner's unusual journey proves that supplies can be delivered less frequently to remote Antarctic stations, meaning less environmental impact. However, this does not mean air transport in Antarctica will become commonplace. As evidenced by the Dreamliner's November flight, landing and taking off are far trickier during the harsh Antarctic winter.

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