The first of Australia’s dedicated Antarctic aircraft will be on display at an international conference in Germany next week.

The Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP) meets each year to plan joint programs and discuss a range of common issues relating to logistic support to the science projects of countries involved in scientific research in Antarctica

Dr Sharman Stone, Parliamentary Secretary responsible for the Antarctic, said that one of Australia’s two CASA 212–400s would be flown from Spain, where it was manufactured, to Bremen for the COMNAP conference.

“COMNAP is where Antarctic nations exchange views on the logistics that support Antarctic science such as air operations, energy management and medical coordination,” Dr Stone said.

“The forum is an ideal occasion to showcase one of our purpose-built aircraft that will begin intra-continental Antarctic work in November.

“Australia’s air transport requirements in Antarctica have been developed over several years and will contribute greatly to a more efficient support system for researchers.

“The CASAs will transfer people and equipment between Australia’s Casey, Davis and Mawson stations and to deep-field locations for research purposes.

“The CASA is a more modern than previous aircraft used by Australia in Antarctica. It can carry greater loads and has an extended range meaning greater flexibility.

“Australia’s Antarctic program requires the CASAs only between October and March and the operators are keen to find alternative users outside of our Antarctic season.

“Australian Antarctic Division representatives at COMNAP will be perfectly placed to help with any queries that may come from other Antarctic nations with possible interest in using the aircraft,” Dr Stone said.

COMNAP runs from July 25 to 29.