Australia’s Antarctic airbus is being used on a trial flight transporting American expeditioners between Hobart and the United States’ McMurdo base in Antarctica.

The A319 flight is scheduled to leave Hobart airport early tomorrow morning, flying 13 United States Antarctic Program (USAP) expeditioners to their base for the winter.

Currently the United States fly all their Antarctic expeditioners stationed at McMurdo via Christchurch in New Zealand.

Australian Antarctic Division Operations Manager, Robb Clifton, said this is the first time the Australian Antarctic plane has been used by the US program to transport their expeditioners from Hobart direct to McMurdo.

“We hope tomorrow’s flight will prove flying to McMurdo via Hobart is a viable cost-effective option that might complement the existing route through Christchurch,” Mr Clifton said.

Each season up to 6000 US expeditioners transit to and from McMurdo.

Australia’s airbus usually undertakes 10–15 flights for the Australian Antarctic program each season, carrying about 400 passengers.