DAP Antarctic Airways (Punta Arenas, Chile) has made this announcement:
DAP projects more than 150 flights to Antarctica in the coming summer season:
An increase of around 30% of its tourism and logistics activity in Antarctica, plans for the 2022-23 season the Chilean company DAP, the world’s leading air operator on the white continent. To date, more than 150 Antarctic flights are projected from mid-November 2022, allowing us to resume (and even exceed) pre-pandemic levels of operation.
In its nearly 42-year history, the Chilean company (headquartered in Punta Arenas), has been conducting 33 years of flights to Antarctica. In the season (November to March) DAP operates mainly three types of Antarctic flights: charter aircraft (transfer of passengers by plane to the frozen continent, where they board an expedition vessel), logistics and prog support Antarctic lovers from different countries, and aeromedical evacuations from Antarctica to Punta Sands.
During the next season, DAP hopes to regain the growth track of Antarctic operations, which were interrupted by the pandemic, and which began to resume just last summer 2021-22) with an activity that, in to second case, it was only about 30-35% of a regular season.
Nicolas Paulsen, DAP Charter Manager, said this increase in activities is in response to accumulated interests and needs from operating in Antarctica, sharply down due to the pandemic. “And now everything starts to resume, mainly because of the good vaccination levels,” he emphasized.
Paulsen stressed that the Magellan-Antarctica air bridge offered by DAP is not only a regional asset, but also national and international. “This overhead bridge is used by Antarctic logistics and Antarctic programs from different countries. This connection implies not only comparative advantages for Chile, but also competitive, as the volume of operations translates into economic feasibility for many countries,” he explained, adding that as this air bridge consolidates furthermore, it will continue to provide solutions to the private and public industries since Chile, “always taking care of the environment as one of the main focus”.
DAP transports to Antarctica in a normal season about 6 thousand passengers, 4 thousand of them on air cruises. Of the latter, a large percentage previously allows at least one night in Punta Arenas, positively impacting local tourism activity.
The flights are to be operated by BAe146/Avro RJ jetliners, continuing the operations between Punta Arenas-Carlos Ibáñez del Campo airport (PUQ/SCCI) to Teniente Marsh airfield on King George Island, South Shetlands archipelago (TNM/SCRM).
February 12, 1989 is a very significant date for DAP.. That day the first flight to Antarctica took place. It was an air-medical transfer. However, the first commercial trip would take place four months later, after several attempts, on June 5, 1989.
Antarctic flights were developed with the Twin Otter until the mid-90s when it was replaced by the King Air 100. Later in 2003, it would be joined by a Dash 7 aircraft needed to meet the demand for more passengers. Then, in 2007, the first BAe 146-200 quadreactor (for 96 passengers) was incorporated into the Antarctic route.
Alvaro Romero reporting from Chile.