Australia’s new Antarctic Airlink aircraft is an Airbus A319. Minister for the Department of the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said the new aircraft would increase Australia’s access to Antarctica, improve logistical flexibility and create new opportunities, including new international collaborations.
The Airbus has a range of 6500 nautical miles and can fly from Hobart to Antarctica and return without refuelling. The aircraft’s internal configuration can be arranged to accommodate different combinations of passengers and cargo. Initially, 19 passengers will be accommodated, but there is capacity for up to 40. Each passenger can take 50kg of stowed luggage and 5kg of carry on luggage. Demonstration flights of a jet aircraft are scheduled for this Antarctic summer at Wilkins Runway, 70km southeast of Casey station. Regular continent to continent flights of the A319 will commence in 2007–08.