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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

18 March 2005

From Antarctica to Avalon - Australia's aircraft at premier air show


One of Australia's new aircraft used during the 2004/05Antarctic season is on display at the prestigious Australian International Air Show at Avalon in Victoria.

The ski-equipped CASA 212 is one of two operating during the 2004/05 Antarctic season that returned from Antarctica two weeks ago.

The Minister for Environment and Heritage said the CASAs had attracted a lot of interest within the Australian aviation industry and this week's air show was a great opportunity for interested parties to see what the aircraft have to offer.

"The aircraft were designed specifically to support the needs of Australia's Antarctic science program while also being able to cope with the harsh weather conditions. The fitment of specially-designed retractable skis allows the aircraft to land on snow and ice as well as normal runways.

"This season, for the first time, the CASAs were put to the test in Antarctica and proved to be very solid and capable performers, particularly in ferrying people and equipment between stations. Until now, Australia has relied on ships to relocate station personnel and scientists."

Senator Campbell said the CASA appearance at the air show at Avalon was the first major public outing since returning from Antarctica.

"The aircraft are available for charter outside Australia's Antarctic program, now that their work in Antarctica is done for this season. The unique capabilities of the aircraft make them suitable for a wide range of applications," Senator Campbell said.

This week has been the perfect chance for the industry to check out potential charter opportunities with the open display this weekend allowing those interested to get a close look at the new aircraft supporting Australia's work in Antarctica.

Background:

The C212 is the first new large ski-equipped aircraft to begin operations in Antarctica in over 30 years.

Aircraft details:

CASA - a subsidiary of European Aeronautic Defence and Space company (EADS) makers of Ariane, Airbus and Eurocopter.

CASA 212-400:

OPERATORS - Sydney-based Skytraders Pty Ltd will operate the aircraft for the AAD after the signing of a 12-year contract in June 2003.

Media Contacts:
Senator Campbell's office: Renae Stoikos (02) 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
Australian Antarctic Division: Patti Lucas (03) 6232 3514 or 0439 639 227

Commonwealth of Australia