An air bridge of a rare kind has been flown this weekend between Stavanger Airport (SVG) in Sola, Norway and Hambantota (HRI) in Sri Lanka.
The Belgian airline TUI fly Belgium operated the flights with a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner carrying Dutch registration PH-TFM. The first flight (TB9120) took off from Sola on Friday 4 September at 06:00 in the morning, after positioning from Amsterdam Schiphol on flight JAF910F during the night.
The trip to the Sunshine Island went over Vilnius in Lithuania and Karachi in Pakistan. The flight time on the more than 9,000 kilometre stretch to Sri Lanka was a little more than 10 hours.
On the night of Sunday 6 September, the plane returned to Sola on flight TB9130. It was then six hours later than scheduled, for an unknown reason.
It left again Stavanger Airport a few minutes past 18:00 on Sunday 6 September night. Again the trip (TB9140) went to Hambantota where it landed on Monday 7 September at 08:00 local time. Return flight to Sola (TB9150) was scheduled for 23:45 Monday night and actually left this Tuesday at 01:45. It eventually landed at Stavanger airport at 08:45 today, 8 September.
After dropping off the passengers, the aircraft with flight number JAF916F will return empty to its home base in Amsterdam later today.
The reason for the flights is the replacement of ship crews. The trip of over 9,000 kilometres is one of the longest direct flight ever from Sola. This is also the first time that direct flights have been operated between Stavanger and cities in Sri Lanka.
Additionally, this is the first time Stavanger airport has been visited by the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. All of Norwegian’s Boeing 787s that are in storage at the airport are of the -9 version, which is slightly larger than the -8 version.
Recently, Air Belgium operated similar ship crew flights between Bergen, Norway, and Cape Town, South Africa (there is also a flight today) and between Brussels South and Manila.
Source: Jan-Petter Helgesen via Per Gram