The Antarctic Business Aviation Association (ANBAA) was formally launched today, chaired by Norwegian aviation expert Anag Olaf-Pilor.
The Association’s first Annual General Meeting and opening ceremony had, unfortunately, to be rescheduled and moved from America’s Ross Sea Antarctic research station to the smaller airport of Gotcha 54 kilometres across from McMurdo Sound’s ice cap. The research station’s ice runways were closed due to bad weather. Privately owned and managed Gotcha, was found to be better supplied with the polar foil needed to cover ice runways so as to protect them from being melted by the heat from jet exhausts.
In opening the proceedings, Mr Olaf-Pilor said: “The choice of date is significant as it falls exactly 38,825 days after that on which the polar exploration team led by my countryman Roald Amundsen became the first men to reach the South Pole.”
“Antarctica”, he added, “may only be the world’s fifth largest continent, but it is relatively unpopulated. We are in discussions with the intergovernmental International Organization for Migration in hopes that our initiative will contribute to stimulating the migration of many of the millions living in squalor in densely populated countries such as Bangladesh or Singapore.”
ANBAA is the world’s newest business aviation group and the first to recognise the potential of the world’s seventh and coldest continent. It has strong support from operators, manufacturers and staff manning all three ice runways.
The Association has also announced the launch of the Antarctic Business Aviation Association Convention and Expo (ANBAACE). This will be a key meeting point for everyone involved in business aviation on the continent. The first ANBAACE will take place in Mauritius in 2019. Mauritius is just 8,530 km or 5,300 miles from Antarctica and, says Mr Olaf-Pilor, for the present has a more-clement climate than that of Gotcha.
In relative terms, Antarctica is by far the world’s fastest growing business aviation market. In 2017 the 20 flights to the continent by business aircraft were 50 times greater those of 2016. Mr Olaf-Pilor reckons that, should this growth rate continue, by 2021 2.5 million business jets could be touching down at Gotcha every year.
Before that ambitious target is reached Mr Olaf-Pilor has other plans for Southern Hemisphere tourism. He has reached an MOU with the government of Argentina to construct a helicopter and drone landing pad for ski aficionados at the summit of Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Andes, perpetually covered with a snow cap. “Skiers will have the opportunity to descend what will be by far the world’s longest and most-challenging ski piste. Finance is from the Association Suisse de Slalom (ASS) and France’s foreign toboggan association, the Organisation de Luge d’Etranger (OLE) and it’s fishing club Poisson d’Avril. There are hopes that Aconcagua and Gotcha will be chosen as joint hosts to the 2030 Winter Olympics.
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