An Ice Runway Landing Proves Large Jets Can Fly To Antarctica

boeing 737 antarctica landing

Photo: © Norweigan Polar Institute

On November 28, a Boeing 737 landed for the first time in Antarctica, on a runway of glacial ice.Commissioned by the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) and operated by PrivatAir, a business aviation group, in collaboration with air charter broker Aircontract, the flight departed from Cape Town and landed at the Troll Research Station six hours later.

The goal of the flight was to prove that commercial airliners can safely operate in such extreme weather conditions, making travel to Antarctica easier for researchers.

In a press release, PrivatAir said the flight was preceded by a “huge amount of preparation,” including simulation training for the pilots and survival training for two crew members. In a sign of confidence in the mission, CEO Greg Thomas was on board.

Researchers at the Troll Station, 146 miles from the coast in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica, work on environmental and climate monitoring.

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