On 21 November, an Italian Air Force Lockheed C-130J (reg. MM62191 – f/n IAM4658) took off from Christchurch towards Antarctica.
At 4.30am CET, the C-130J of the 46th Air Force Brigade successfully made its first landing on the semi-prepared runway at Boulder Clay, which is destined to become an international hub in Antarctica at the service of scientific research, not only Italian.
The flight carried materials and food to cope with the emergency caused by the reduced thickness of sea ice, which this year did not allow large aircraft to land on the pack in front of the Italian coastal base Mario Zucchelli in Newfoundland Bay.
60 metres wide and completed for the first 1,700 metres out of the 2,200 planned in the project, the runway was built for the first time on a moraine, exploiting the debris deposits above Boulder Clay, a glacier over 100 metres thick, located 4 km from the Zucchelli station.
In the coming months, work will be completed to make the aviostructure fully operational by the next Antarctic expedition.