A319 background information

A plane's cargo is unloaded on Antarctic ice runway
The Airbus A319 is unloaded during an operation at Wilkins runway. (Photo: Glenn Jacobson)
Rows of seats inside a small plane, three on each side with a row in the middleCargo hold of A319 taken from outside of plane

Airbus A319-115LR

The Airbus A319-115LR is 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.

Intercontinental flights operate during the summer months and land at the Wilkins Aerodrome, 70 km southeast of Casey.

The Wilkins blue ice runway operates during the summer period and supports regular scheduled flights from Australia. The blue ice runway is capable of supporting large wheeled aircraft and smaller ski-equipped aircraft.

The intercontinental flight takes approximately four hours and 30 minutes in either direction, and the aircraft typically spends two hours on the ground in Antarctica before returning to Hobart.


The A319 is a variant of the highly popular A320.

  • Range: over 5000 nautical miles providing the ability to fly Hobart – Antarctica and return without refuelling.
  • Overall length: 33.83m Fuselage diameter: 3.95m
  • Height: 11.76m Max cabin width: 3.70m
  • Cabin length: 23.78m Wingspan: 34.10m

Passengers and cargo

Passenger numbers depend on the requirement of the program – normally the aircraft carries up to 20 passengers but has a surge capacity of 40. Up to 20 flights will be conducted each season. (See schedule)

The aircraft's flexible configuration provides for the transport of a combination of passengers and high priority, lightweight cargo.

The Airbus A319 also has the capability to provide a rapid medical evacuation capability. It is leased and operated by Skytraders Pty Ltd.