Wilkins Runway

Wilkins Runway

Infobox Airport
name = Wilkins Runway
nativename =
nativename-a =
nativename-r =

image-width =
caption =
type = Private
owner =
operator = Australian Antarctic Division
city-served = Australian Antarctic Territory
location = Wilkes Land, Antarctica
elevation-f = 2395
elevation-m = 730
coordinates = coord|66|41|22|S|111|29|09|E|type:airport|display=inline
website =
metric-elev = yes
metric-rwy = yes
r1-number = 09/27
r1-length-f = 13123
r1-length-m = 4000
r1-surface = Ice
stat-year =
stat1-header =
stat1-data =
footnotes =

Wilkins Runway is a single runway aerodrome operated by Australia, located on Budd Coast, Wilkes Land on the continent of Antarctica, but 40 km southeast of the actual coast. It is named after Sir Hubert Wilkins, a pioneer of Antarctic aviation and exploration.


Construction of a runway in the Australian Antarctic Territory was first suggested in the 1950s, but logistical, political and environmental issues meant construction of the runway did not begin until 2004. [http://www.smh.com.au/news/environment/historic-flight-lands-in-antarctica/2008/01/11/1199988538801.html Historic flight lands in Antarctica] , "The Sydney Morning Herald", January 11, 2008.] The AUD $46 million dollar runway is carved into glacial blue ice, approximately 65 km (40 miles) from the Australian base at Casey Station.

In order to be approved by Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Wilkins was required to be levelled to runway standard with the use of lasers, and requires a crew of eight to maintain the level and friction of the runway before each landing.


CASA issued an aviation licence for the airline Skytraders to operate passenger flights [ [http://news.smh.com.au/casa-approves-antarctic-flights/20080108-1kub.html CASA approves Antarctic flights] , "The Sydney Morning Herald", January 8, 2008.] , and the first flight was made on January 11, 2008, carrying Australia's Environment Minister Peter Garrett, twelve scientists and six other passengers. [Clarke, Sarah: [http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/01/11/2136159.htm Antarctic plane heading home after maiden flight] , Australian Broadcasting Corporation, January 11, 2008.] [ [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23256507/ Australia builds Antarctic ice runway - News - MSNBC.com ] ]

Flights to Antarctica leave from Hobart International Airport in Tasmania using an Airbus A319, and the flight takes around four hours. Prior to the runway's completion, the trip to Antarctica involved a ten-day journey by ship across the Southern Ocean from Hobart. The runway only operates during the Antarctic summer, and twenty to thirty flights per season are planned. The flights are used to transport scientists conducting Antarctic research, and are not available for tourist flights.


External links

* [http://www.aad.gov.au/default.asp?casid=33752 Wilkins Runway] , Australian Antarctic Division
* [http://www.airservicesaustralia.com/publications/current/sup/s8-h11.pdf Wilkins Aerodrome RNAV Approach] , Airservices Australia

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