31 JANUARY 2022


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Article from BTNews 31 JANUARY 2022

MAX to Antarctica

Czech carrier Smartwings has become the first airline to fly a Boeing 737 Max into Antarctica, landing the aircraft at the Troll airfield on 26 January.

Troll station is sited on the edge of Antarctica closest to southern Africa. Operated by the Norwegian Polar Institute, it has a 3,000m runway located on a glacier at 1,232m altitude.

The aircraft flew from Oslo, via N’Djamena (Chad) and Cape Town, and then six hours to Troll.

“The [runway] surface was specifically prepared, and braking action measured by Norwegian Polar Institute prior to operation,” says the carrier.

It noted that the crew – comprising three experienced captains – received continuous weather updates and reports on the airport’s availability via datalink and satellite phone communications.

“The preparations took many months, and the flight and landing went smoothly,” says Smartwings Captain and Flight Director Tomas Nevole. Arctic survival training formed part of the preparatory work.

Smartwings says the aircraft was on the ground for just two hours.  With no alternative airport in case of an emergency special permission was required.  



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