Wilkins Runway – the newest addition to the Australian Antarctic Territory.
In 2008 Australia's Antarctic airlink became a reality after years of discussion and planning. The air service from Hobart to an ice runway near Casey station will operate over summer and is capable of supporting weekly flights from Australia.
Wilkins Runway, named after the legendary patron and pioneer of early Antarctic aviation, Sir Hubert Wilkins is located approximately 70km south east of Casey and will serve as the Antarctic terminal for the intercontinental air service. The blue ice, snow-capped runway is capable of supporting large wheeled aircraft.
The intercontinental aircraft is an Airbus A319-115LR a modern twin engine aircraft with a range of 5000 nautical miles, providing the ability to fly Hobart – Antarctica and return without refuelling, a total of almost 4000 km.
Each intercontinental flight takes approx 4 1/2 hours in either direction. The aircraft typically spends 2 hours on the ground in Antarctica before returning to Hobart.
On 24 January 2008, His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery officially opened Wilkins Runway in Antarctica. Unsettled weather prevented the Governor General's visit to Wilkins so expeditioners 'unveiled' the plaque as they cracked the ice encasing it.
The Minister for the Environment and Heritage , Peter Garrett was aboard the first official flight on 10 January 2008.
Delivering supplies to Wilkins Runway.
Wilkins Runway Camp
A319 at Wilkins Runway