Swiss operator PrivatAir recently accomplished an aviation first: it successfully landed a Boeing 737 on a blue glacial runway near the Troll Research Station in Antarctica. The flight, commissioned by the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) in collaboration with Norwegian air charter broker Aircontact, was a trial run to see if the aircraft can operate safely to the station with minimal environmental impact. And with the success of the flight, PrivatAir is hoping to begin regular service to the station in 2013.
Troll Research Station, run by NPI for environmental and climate monitoring, scientific research and mapping, is about 146 mi. from the eastern part of Princess Martha Coast in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica – about a 6 hr flight from Cape Town, South Africa. A number of scientists and researchers travel to the station during the summer season.
About a year’s worth of preparation went into the flight, including simulator and survival training. The flight required special communication equipage as well.