DALLAS – Norwegian Air Shuttle (DY) once flew one of the world’s longest air journeys. it connected the Arctic with Ushuaia, the gateway to Antarctica, and one could do the trip for less than £400.
Today, we explore why DY flew the route coined the “Norwegian 9,800 Mile Mega Journey,” the world’s first direct trip between the Northernmost and southernmost airports.
On September 24, 2019, DY announced that it had become the sole airline to offer flights to and from the world’s northernmost airport in Svalbard, Norway, and the world’s southernmost airport in Ushuaia, Argentina. The airline connected the former routes with London Gatwick Airport (LGW).
Norwegian commenced this flight on September 21, 2019, with the help of an aircraft fleet operated by it and its subsidiaries. No other airline has offered this north-to-south flight service.
Norwegian Air Shuttle
Founded in 1993 as a regional carrier, Norwegian Air Shuttle is a Norwegian low-cost airline and Norway’s largest airline headquartered in “Diamanten,” Fornebu, Norway. The airline group is also one of the largest LCCs in Europe and operates all its flights through its two subsidiaries, Norwegian Air Sweden (D8) and Norwegian Air Norway (DH).
Until December 2019, it used to own and operate Norwegian Air Argentina (DN), which flew on domestic routes within the country. Likewise, it had two long-haul subsidiaries, Norwegian Air UK (DI) and Norwegian Long Haul (DU), which operated long-haul flights on behalf of the company as of January 2021.
Following the pandemic, DI and DU were liquated as part of DY’s restructuring, and it now operates to fewer destinations with fewer aircraft.
So, how was the world’s first group of DY flights connecting the northernmost with the southernmost point on the Earth?
Norwegian’s 9800 Miles Flights
Today, some of the world’s longest nonstop flights are over 16 hours in duration, covering distances of over 7,800 miles. But Norwegian was the first to design the world’s first flights from the northernmost airport to the southernmost airport.
Some routes, like New York to Singapore or Singapore to Frankfurt, are considered the longest. However, the DY 9,800-mile trip was not just about flying nonstop from point A to point B; it was about providing a long-lasting experience on an exceptional itinerary.
The airline planned a journey of 9,800 miles (15,770 kilometers), connecting Norway’s Svalbard Airport (LYR) with Ushuaia – Malvinas Argentinas International Airport (USH) with the help of four flights.
The total airborne time for the journey was 25 hours.
Norwegian scheduled the flights on Friday in the following sequence (all local times):
- Flight DY397, operated using a Boeing 737 out of Svalbard (LYR), took off at 12:40. After flying non-stop for approximately three hours; it landed at Oslo Gardermoen Airport (OSL) at 15:35.
- Flight D82807, using another Boeing 737, took off from OSL at 18:45. After two hours and 20 minutes in the air, it landed at London Gatwick Airport (LGW) at 20:05.
- From LGW, flight DI7505, using a Boeing 787-9, took off at 22:30. The redeye landed at Ministro Pistarini International Airport (EZE) in Buenos Aires at 8:10 after flying for fifteen hours and 45 minutes nonstop. They reserved one and a half days for exploring the beautiful Buenos Aires city.
- Come Sunday, flight DN6120, using another Boeing 737, took off from Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP) at 18:35 and touched down in Ushuaia (USH) at 22:15.
Passengers traveling on cruise ships to Antarctica often use Malvinas Argentinas International Airport (USH, located in Ushuaia. It is situated just a few kilometers from the city center and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the Beagle Channel.
USH’s unique location makes it look like it has been constructed on an artificial island. However, it has been constructed on the island of Tierra del Fuego.
With a heavy heart, we must say that the Norwegian carrier no longer continues this mega journey. As mentioned above, some of its subsidiaries utilized for some flights entered the liquidation process after the Pandemic.
However, with the modern and state-of-the-art Airbus A350 XWB, flying directly on LYR to USH route might be possible. Moreover, some other carriers provide connecting flights on this route, but you will need to book tickets separately.
Nevertheless, those lucky enough passengers that embarked on this spectacular journey will never forget the incredible experience it provided. Norwegian once made the world closer than ever.
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Feature Image: Norwegian Air LN-NID Boeing 737-8JP | Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways