Hercules waiting at Christchurch © Antarctica New Zealand Pictorial Collection
Listen to our Antarctic air bridge sound effects [3MB]
Christchurch is the aerial gateway to the Antarctic
with around 100 direct flights each year.
Christchurch Airport's Antarctic connection began in 1955 with
the arrival of eight US Air Force aircraft for Operation Deep
Freeze. The aircraft left from Harewood Airfield for the
14-hour flight to McMurdo Station. Operation Deep Freeze
still remains at the airport today, and with the arrival of the
International Antarctic Centre in 1992, Christchurch continues to
embrace its' Antarctic connection.
To celebrate our connection with the Antarctic, some
passengers flying into the airport from overseas will
arrive onto an Antarctic themed airbridge. Passengers will be
surrounded by the expanse of the Antarctic and the towering
Emperor penguins, they'll even hear the unique sounds of this
amazing region. Click PLAY opposite and have a listen
Did you know?
- The Antarctic air logistic operations of the US, Italy and New
Zealand are staged through Christchurch Airport to McMurdo
- Every summer the military aircraft of these nations complete
some 100 flights to the continent and move over 5,500 passengers
and 1,400 tonnes of cargo.
- The US's McMurdo Station and New Zealand's Scott Base are
approximately 3,920km by air from Christchurch.
- The flight to the Antarctic from Christchurch takes about five
hours in a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster or seven hours in an RNZAF
C-130 Hercules. You can view these aircraft in the below
- Weather disruptions are common and during the 2005/06 summer
season nearly one-quarter of all flights were delayed. In the same
season the re-supply ship was stranded for three weeks in some of
the worst sea-ice conditions in over 20 years.