For the first time ever, scientific equipment, machinery, food and other consumer goods were flown from Dusseldorf Airport to an Antarctic research station. The flight that took off from Dusseldorf en route to Brazzaville, Cape Town and on to a station on the southernmost continent was operated by a special Boeing 737 (BBJ2) belonging to Switzerland registered Private Air.
There was a highly unusual amount of excess baggage: In total, only eight passengers, three Norwegian scientists and five researchers from Japan who accounted for more than three tons of goods.
The items were carefully lifted on board a Boeing 737 jetliner in DUS International last Saturday without the passengers paying a cent for the air transport of the goods. This, because the entire
shipment consisted of sensitive instruments, telescopes, gauges, different kind of special tools and predominantly logistics equipment. A delicate mixture of special products that were badly
needed by polar specialists to carry on with their various environmental experiments at Norway’s “Troll Research Station.” The remote location is at eastern Antarctica’s Queen Maud Land, about
235 kilometers from the coast at 72° 01´ S, 2° 32´ E. The surrounding vast territory is claimed by Oslo’s government as their dominion, which explains why the Norwegian Polar Institute has chosen
this special site for setting up their Antarctic research center.
Troll Airstrip is the lifeline of the scientists
Their base is operated year-round, making occasional supply flights indispensable. To enable aircraft landings and departures, a 3000 meter-long airstrip was built. A complicated task because crevasse formations had to be filled with water, sand pockets and stones needed to be removed and occasional snowdrifts have to be scraped away before deep snow envelopes everything. Due to harsh weather conditions, “Troll Airstrip” is operative only in the Antarctic summer, from October to February. This explains the current supply flights conducted from both Dusseldorf and Oslo to equip the year-round operated base with the material and equipment needed by the scientists until the next flight season in the autumn of 2016 begins.
Norway’s Polar Institute, supported by Oslo’s government, has allowed flight activities solely based on scientific matters, thereby excluding any type of commercial flights.
The NPI chose DUS
In total, the Norwegian Polar Institute has entrusted DUS Airport with three Antarctic flights during the current summer season to the southern hemisphere. This, because “they were looking for a second European airport in addition to Oslo for operating these flights,” reads a DUS release. The airport was chosen by the Norwegians because of its “central position in Germany and Western Europe and its high cargo competency,” states the management.
The next departure of a Private Air BBJ is scheduled to take place in January, followed by a March flight. From then on, the scientists at “Troll Research Station” will have to wait until next October to welcome a plane loaded with equipment, mail, food and all sorts of consumables.