ALE provides an intercontinental air bridge between South America and the Ellsworth Mountains, West Antarctica. ALE operates approx. weekly passenger flights from November through January and cargo flights as needed. Flight time is 4 1/4 hours.
Flights depart from Presidente Carlos Ibañez del Campo airport (PUQ/SCCI) in Punta Arenas, Chile and land at Union Glacier blue-ice runway (UGL/SCGC). Our commercial passenger jets carry 60 passengers. Our cargo aircraft can hold two shipping containers’ volume of cargo, with a total capacity of 17,500 kg. Dedicated cargo flights, private jet charters and airfield support can also be arranged. All flights are weather dependent (see Meteorology).
Ilyushin IL-76 TD (cargo)
The IL-76 was originally conceived for delivering heavy machinery to remote, poorly-serviced areas of the USSR. As such it needed to meet the requirements for a heavy-lift freighter with good speed and range, be able to operate from short and unprepared airstrips, and capable of coping with the worst weather conditions likely to be experienced in Siberia and the Soviet Union’s Arctic regions.
The IL-76 has seen extensive service as a commercial freighter, especially for oversized or heavy items unable to be otherwise carried. An onboard crane can self-load and offload items up to 10 tonne, without the need for specialized airport equipment. The IL-76 has been used as emergency response transport for civilian evacuations and to deliver humanitarian/disaster relief aid around the world, especially to undeveloped areas due to its ability to operate from unpaved runways. The IL-76TD has a greater range and load capacity than the original IL-76.
Boeing 757 (passengers)
ALE uses standard commercial jets for our scheduled, intercontinental passenger flights. These deliver a fast flight service to Antarctica and have fuel efficient, low noise engines that help ALE in our policy of continued reduction in fuel use.
The Boeing 757-200 (or similar) offers passengers a shorter flight time, a comfortable flight, and plenty of windows to enjoy the spectacular Antarctic views and thrilling blue-ice landing.
ALE has deployed a number of airfield facilities to enable a rapid turn-around for commercial jets. This means that the most efficient use can be made of weather opportunities to fly to Antarctica.
Extended range, private jets, such as Bombardier, Dassault Falcon and Gulfstream families, offer the most comfortable way to fly to Antarctica. These types of aircraft come with luxurious passenger cabins, shorter flight times due to a fast flight speed, low noise and fuel-efficient engines that minimize potential environmental impacts.
ALE can facilitate charter flights, or provide limited airfield support for your aircraft, by prior arrangement. Please contact us well in advance of your project start date, to allow time for necessary Antarctic authorizations and pilot familiarization. ALE does not provide a fueling service at our runway.