Antarctic Operations meetings focus on the future

A new CASA 212–400 aircraft — destined for Antarctica — and a range of other polar aircraft, went on display at Bremerhaven airport in Germany earlier this year, during a series of operational meetings in Bremen.

Meetings included the 16th Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP), the 11th Symposium of the Standing Committee on Antarctic Logistics and Operations (SCALOP) and its associated trade show, and the 28th Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) conference and meetings.

The air show and SCALOP trade show, hosted by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), matched the theme of the SCALOP Symposium — Towards the International Polar Year and Beyond – which featured presentations and posters on new transportation technologies and applications; technology to enable science; technology to reduce environmental impact; and the latest developments in energy storage.

Hundreds of scientists and support staff from a range of countries attended the meetings, to share experiences and display equipment, services and ideas. The next COMNAP and SCALOP meetings will be hosted in Hobart, Australia, in 2006. A team is already working to prepare for this important event and we look forward to the opportunity to deliver as successful a set of meetings and displays as our colleagues and friends at AWI did.

After the meetings the CASA 212–400 flew to Australia, where it was joined by a second CASA 212–400. Both aircraft were fitted with avionics, radios and skis. They are expected in Antarctica before Christmas.

Aircraft usher in a new era in Antarctic support

There is a good deal of expectation about how the two CASA 212–400 aircraft will perform. A sense of excitement is building as the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) prepares for its first season when mainstream fixed wing support will be provided using planes operating under an Australian issued Air Operations Certificate.

The CASA 212–400s are an important and integral part of the AAD operations and logistics support system for the 2004– 05 season. There is much to look forward to and learn as we integrate the operation of ships and aircraft into a single system for the first time. It is clear that there will be great advantages and efficiencies once the system is fully operational.

Of course, in this first season we will be taking a cautious and risk averse approach to the planning and implementation of operations with CASA 212–400s. The objective is to provide the very best customer support possible, within the boundaries of safety, environmental excellence and efficient resource management.

Kim Pitt
General Manager, Operations, Australian Antarctic Division