Icelandair jet landed safely in Antarctica
The crew rested in South Africa and the plane was refuelled before setting off early this morning for Norway’s Troll research station on the continent of Antarctica.
The flight is operated on behalf of Loftleiðir, which is an Icelandair Group company, and follows a similar operation in 2015 on a Boeing 757—the first large passenger jet ever to land in Antarctica.
“It’s unusual because the runway is made of ice. We’ve had to be very careful, because there are these weather windows we need to take advantage of, as people know from Everest. The biggest threat is snow blindness; in other words, distinguishing between sky and ground when both are white, but the conditions today are very good,” says chief pilot Linda Gunnarsdóttir.
The plane’s stop was only scheduled to be around an hour, though it was still on the ground at 14.00. It took off again for Cape Town at 14.10, according to Flightradar24. The purpose of the trip is to pick up Norwegian Polar Institute scientists who spend most of the year researching in Antarctica.
"These are scientists who have been there for as long as nearly 14 months and are going home to Norway on holiday,” Linda explains.
The above picture was taken of the Boeing 757 in November 2015.