50 Years of Air Cargo Missions to Antarctica

An Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft in Antarctica
An Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft in Antarctica

24 November 2015

A New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) C-130 Hercules aircraft marked the 50th year of New Zealand’s airlift support flights to Antarctica by delivering over 3,000 kilograms of freight to the icy continent yesterday.

The mission was the first of eight airlift support flights to be carried out by a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) C-130 aircraft that is planned for the summer season.

"Operation Antarctica is one of our major missions. The first RNZAF air cargo mission to Antarctica was in 1965, and 50 years on we continue to support Antarctica New Zealand and the US Antarctic programmes through the Joint Logistics Pool," said Major General (MAJGEN) Tim Gall, Commander Joint Forces New Zealand.

"Our support recognises the importance of the scientific research being conducted in Antarctica," MAJGEN Gall said.

"On a practical level, the airlift support flights are crucial because they ensure that science and operational personnel working on the continent have the necessary supplies to get through the season."

The NZDF provides search and rescue support, air transport, terminal operations at Harewood Terminal in Christchurch and McMurdo Base, and support for the unloading of the annual container ship. Up to 220 NZDF personnel including engineers, heavy plant operators, cargo handlers, and communications specialists are deployed during the summer season to support the team at Scott Base.

Antarctica New Zealand manages Scott Base and supports scientific research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, particularly the Ross Sea region.

For further information, please contact Defence Public Affairs on 021 487 980

This page was last reviewed on 25 November 2015.