According to various reports, an Icelandair Boeing 767-300 with flight number FI1010 is en route from Reykjavik to Antarctica, with a stopover in Cape Town. The 20-year-old aircraft is operated under registration code TF-ISN. A few weeks ago, Lufthansa made history with its longest flight to the Falkland Islands. The Icelandair flight will be even cooler, as the plane lands on bare ice in Antarctica.
Before taking off for the “Troll Research Station” on the southernmost continent of the earth, the aircraft will make a stopover in Cape Town. The Icelandair flight comes just weeks after Lufthansa’s longest-ever flight to the Falkland Islands to take German researchers to Antarctica.
Upon arrival in Cape Town, a team of Norwegian researchers will join the flight to the Norwegian “Troll Research Station”. From Cape Town the Norwegian station will be reached in about 5-6 hours, where the aircraft will land on an ice runway and after a short stop fly back to Cape Town. On the return flight to Europe, the 30 scientists will first reach home soil during a stopover in Oslo. The aircraft’s crew includes six pilots, 13 flight attendants and one mechanic.
Earlier supply flights to the “Troll Research Station” were carried out with Russian Ilyushin IL-76. On November 28, 2012, a Boeing B-737 operated by Swiss airline Privat Air was the first passenger jet to land at the Norwegian research station.
Not the first time Icelandair flies to Antarctica
The flight to the south is not the first time Icelandair has flown to Antarctica. On November 26, 2015, the airline landed a Boeing 757 on the icy continent. The aircraft was supported by Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions and equipped with 62 business class seats. It flew from Chile to Union Glacier Camp, a flight that takes about four and a half hours.
While Icelandair’s flights to Antarctica are uncommon, an Airbus A319 operated by the Australian Antarctic Program is used regularly in Antarctica. Qantas also offers charter flights across the continent. Australia also wants to build a new asphalt runway on the continent.
Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal
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