Building Antarctica's first paved runway

The site of the paved runway near Davis research station - a rocky, snow-covered ridgeline.
The site of the paved runway near Davis research station. (Photo: Andrew Garner)

The Australian Government has announced its intention to construct a paved runway near Davis research station, subject to environmental approvals.

The new runway will complement Australia’s existing summer-only ice runway at Wilkins Aerodrome, near Casey research station, and will provide more reliable access to Antarctica throughout the year, improving our ability to conduct year-round, world-class scientific research and respond to emergencies.

The runway will be almost 5000 kilometres from Hobart, with a flight time of around six hours, and 1400 kilometres from Wilkins Aerodrome. It will be 2700 metres long, based on the length required by large commercial aircraft.

The project will be subject to extensive environmental and other government approval processes, including to meet the requirements of the Antarctic Treaty (Environment Protection) Act 1980 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The runway is part of the Government’s commitment to a new era of Antarctic endeavour and will integrate with the new state-of-the-art icebreaker, RSV Nuyina, an expanding overland traverse capability, replacement station on Macquarie Island and new Antarctic science funding announced in the recent budget.

Read the Davis runway fact sheet.