Leading companies involved in drilling and exploration in the South Atlantic have been using dedicated aircraft charters for both essential crew changes and to transport vital freight to and from the Falkland Islands.
Since August 2010, leading aircraft charter specialist, Air Charter Service, has been running a series of charter flights relating to oil and gas exploration programs from the UK totalling more than one hundred flights. The company has a long and distinguished history within the industry and won contracts to carry both passengers and cargo. The passenger charters were primarily on Airbus A330s and A340s. As well as the belly freight carried on these, ACS also arranged dedicated cargo flights on aircraft such as AN-124s, B747s and MD-11s, to carry vital freight which totalled almost half a million tonnes.
A chartered flight on an A340-400 takes 17 hours direct from London Gatwick to RAF Mount Pleasant – the only international airport in the Falkland Islands – with just one fuel stop. The same trip on scheduled airlines would involve four changes, various layovers and would take more than 48 hours to complete. Also, it would have to tie in with the only direct civilian flight to Mount Pleasant – from Punta Arenas, southern Chile on some Saturday afternoons.
“Regular charter flights are really the only logical solution for organisations with long term projects in the region”, explains Justin Bowman, vice chairman at ACS. “They are able to coordinate and tailor their schedules to fit around their own operational requirements. It can work out more cost effective than some might think as we were able to provide flexible contractual terms and financial return incentives to the clients.”