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Hillesøya, Tromsø
Hillesøya, Tromsø.
Photo: wungenz/Foap/

Norwegian airliner prepares northern light safaris

Widerøe aims to defeat clouds by offering a one-hour sightseeing trip.

Published 17 December 2016
Last edited 26 June 2017

The northern lights. Everyone wants a glimpse, but they follow no schedule. For those dreaming of being bathed in the glow of nature’s own fireworks for a few minutes, some preparation is advised.

Some things will increase your chances substantially. First (and most obvious): Be in the right place at the right time. In other words, Northern Norway or Svalbard during winter, when the statistical chance of spotting the northern lights is decidedly at its highest point.

Second, for some extra assistance there is also the NorwayLights app for iPhone, Android and Windows, featuring alerts for the next probable sighting.


A challenge that can be harder to prepare for is the presence of clouds.

Now, nothing against clouds as a natural phenomenon – they’re great – but it’s no secret they’re a bit more commonplace than green shimmering waves of light tearing across a pitch black night sky.

So Widerøe, a Norwegian airliner, has decided that enough is enough. According to broadcaster NRK, this winter Widerøe is preparing northern light safaris above the clouds by plane. The idea was originally suggested to the company by their cabin crew.

“Our sightseeing trip will last a little over an hour. We think this could be an attractive offering for those who have travelled far, especially on days with overcast weather”, Widerøe director Terje Skram told NRK (article in Norwegian only).

The plane will take off and land in Tromsø, and the offering starts in January. So far, it is only set to run through March, but Skram tells NRK he is open for more if the safaris turn out to be popular.

These safaris may well turn out to be a welcome supplement to the already plentiful northern light packages on offer in the Tromsø region, ranging from dedicated northern light hunts to experiences that also incorporate other activities and Norwegian culture.


The real name of the northern lights is Aurora Borealis. It is a natural phenomenon arising from particles from the sun colliding with Earth’s atmosphere.

When the particles hit the planet’s magnetic field, they are led towards a circle around the magnetic North Pole. The energy that is then freed is what we refer to as northern lights.

Find out more about the northern lights

Try our northern lights forecast


Read more

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