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October 23 2012

Antarctic airstrip melting away


AUSTRALIA'S $46 million Antarctic airstrip is melting, leaving the government scrambling to find a new air link to the frozen continent.

The Wilkins runway - carved into ice near Casey station, about 3400 kilometres south-west of Hobart - was commissioned under the Howard government and hailed at its 2008 opening by the then Environment Minister, Peter Garrett.

But unexpected surface melt has sharply curtailed use of the summer airstrip.

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