Eight air transport companies — seven of them Australian-based — have been asked to submit proposals to develop an air transport system for Australia’s Antarctic program. These companies had previously been short-listed to provide air transport between Australia and Antarctica.

The AAD is seeking proposals from the companies to enter into an agreement to develop an air transport system incorporating both an Australia-to-Antarctica component and a capability for flying within Antarctica itself.

Detailed proposals specifying the type of aircraft used and many other aspects of such a system are being sought.

The eight short-listed companies have until 21 September to submit their proposals. With advice from aviation and other consultants, the AAD will then determine the company or companies best able to provide the service.

The decision on whether to proceed with the air link will be made after an assessment of the proposals is completed, including risk, cost-benefit and environmental analyses.