First Commercial Jet of Australia Lands in Icy Antarctica

by OldSailor on December 17, 2007


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Good news for the scientific community.

Australia’s test flight by Airbus A319 landed on the purpose-built Wilkins Runway, around 70kms from Casey station, late on December 09 and returned to Hobart,Tasmania early on December 10. So far only military aircrafts used to land in icy Antarctica. It is a step towards establishing a permanent air link which will enable Australian scientists to reach Antarctica in four hours, which otherwise takes more than ten days by sea. It is a significant progress and a great achievement for the Australia’s Antarctic Program.

The flight to Wilkins carried only operations personnel and was one of a series of successful ‘proving’ flights before final approval from authorities to allow passengers on board. Regular operational flights to Antarctica will begin once regulatory approvals are completed over the next week or so.

Some of the photographs of Airbus A319

The purpose-built glacial runway at Wilkins.


Photo: Jeremy Smith

A319, Snow Petrel, on the runway at Wilkins.


Photo: Jeremy Smith

Support crew with the Airbus A319 at Wilkins Runway.


Photo: Jeremy Smith

L-R, Charlton Clark, Manager – Antarctic Airlink Project and Dr Jeremy Smith, Casey Station Leader with the A319 at Wilkins Runway.


Photo: Tom Delfatti

View a video clip of the landing


Update:January 12, 2008

Historic passenger jet flight from Australia with Government officials, scientists and media personnel landed at Antarctica on January 11.

View the video clip of the flight

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