Several days ago I wrote about what might just be one of the coolest flights ever. I wanted to post an update about this flight, given that the plane has now completed this journey, and there’s even a video of the plane both landing and taking off from Antarctica, with views from the ground and from inside the cabin.
Icelandair 767 flies between Iceland & Antarctica
An Icelandair Boeing 767-300 has just completed an epic roundtrip journey between Iceland and Antarctica via South Africa. The 767 had the flight number FI1010 on the southbound sector, and flight number FI1011 on the northbound sector. The service was operated by a 20 year old plane with the registration code TF-ISN.
Here’s what the flight’s schedule looked like:
- On Wednesday, February 24, the 767 flew nonstop from Keflavik to Cape Town in a flight time of 14hr, landing on Thursday, February 25
- On Friday, February 26, the 767 flew from Cape Town to Troll Research Station in a flight time of 5hr43min
- On Friday, February 26, the 767 flew from Troll Research Station to Cape Town in a flight time of 5hr15min
- On Friday, February 26, the 767 flew from Cape Town to Oslo in a flight time of 12hr53min, landing on Saturday, February 27
- On Sunday, February 28, the 767 flew from Oslo to Keflavik in a flight time of 2hr38min
Here are some more interesting details about this service:
- This Icelandair 767 had a crew of 20 people, including six pilots, 13 flight attendants, and one mechanic
- This flight was crewed in a creative way to allow for rest; for example, the pilots operating the Iceland to South Africa flight stayed in Cape Town to rest, then another set of pilots flew roundtrip between South Africa and Antarctica, and then the set of pilots that rested in Cape Town operated the return flight to Oslo, and then the entire crew rested in Oslo for a night before returning to Iceland
- Icelandair picked up Norwegian scientists in Cape Town who traveled to Antarctica; then on the return journey Icelandair transported Norwegian scientists from Antarctica to Norway
- The entire roundtrip journey covered a distance of over 20,000 miles — the flight from Iceland to South Africa covered a distance of ~7,100 miles, and the flight from South Africa to Antarctica covered a distance of ~2,700 miles, while the return was even further due to the Oslo stop
- Almost as impressive as the flight to Antarctica itself was that the Keflavik to Cape Town flight was operated nonstop, as that must be one of the longest 767 flights ever; this was only possible because of how empty the plane was
Video of the Icelandair 767 in Antarctica
We had previously seen pictures of the Icelandair 767 on the ground in Antarctica, and that looked mighty cool.
However, that pales in comparison to the video that are now available. Here’s a video of the Icelandair 767 landing in Antarctica.
Then here’s a video of the Icelandair 767 taking off from Antarctica.
This isn’t even Icelandair’s first flight to Antarctica — back in 2015, Icelandair became the first commercial airline to land a plane on a blue-ice runway in Antarctica, as the airline operated a flight to Union Glacier. That flight had originated in Chile.
Even cooler than Lufthansa’s Falkland Islands flight?
Several weeks ago Lufthansa made headlines for its Falkland Islands flight, also intended to transport people (most of the way) to Antarctica:
- Lufthansa operated a journey from Hamburg, Germany, to Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands, to Munich, Germany, with an Airbus A350-900; the outbound flight was Lufthansa’s longest-ever nonstop flight
- This was intended to transport scientists and ship crews who were either getting onto or off of the Polarstern research vessel to Antarctica
- While these trips would have operated through South Africa in the past, this journey went through the Falkland Islands due to coronavirus concerns in South Africa at the time (though the situation has improved considerably there)
While I thought that flight was ridiculously cool, Icelandair has Lufthansa beat here — landing directly on the ice in Antarctica is no doubt cooler (both literally and figuratively).
An Icelandair 767 has just completed an epic roundtrip journey from Iceland to Antarctica, with stops in South Africa and Norway along the way. What a cool flight from an avgeek perspective, and it’s especially great to see how seamlessly this was pulled off, given all the logistics involved. This is all even cooler to me after seeing the videos of the takeoff and landing.
Do you find this Icelandair flight as cool as I do?