Antarctic summer season opens

The first flight for the summer to Scott Base in Antarctica left Christchurch yesterday. Another flight left today and a third one will leave tomorrow with cargo. Aboard the planes are staff of the New Zealand Defence Force and the US Antarctic programme.

The New Zealand Defence Force is responsible for transport, communications and keeping Scott Base operating during the summer season in Antarctica. They have been busy preparing for their time in Antarctica by training in survival. It is dangerous work, flying helicopters and planes in Antarctica, even in summer.

Scientists will arrive at Scott Base in two weeks time ready for the next five months of work in Antarctica. Scott Base has 85 beds but usually about 60 people stay there at any one time.

During the winter, a small team of scientists, usually only 12 people, stays at Scott Base. They will be able to leave and return to New Zealand now.

The New Zealand, the US and the South Korean Antarctic programmes use Christchurch airport.

Listen to April 27th 2012 to hear about staying in Antarctica during the winter.


Scott Base – New Zealand’s base (buildings) in Antarctica
cargo – goods e.g. machines, equipment, food
survival – how to stay safe in very cold weather


1. Why is it dangerous for pilots in Antarctica?
2. What work do scientists do in Antarctica?
3. What kind of people are needed to keep Scott Base operating?

Leave a Reply