30 September, 2021

Despite the global pandemic, the strong strategic relationship between the Falkland Islands Government (FIG) and British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has gone from strength to strength. Following the success of the previous austral summer research season, the Falkland Islands is once again positioned to be the gateway for exciting and important Antarctic science over the next six to nine months.

A small airplane sitting on the tarmac.
Dash 7 airplane at Mount Pleasant Airport (MPA) in the Falkland Islands in 2016.

BAS will be transiting over 200 staff through the Falkland Islands over the 2021/22 season, as regular logistics routes through South America remain disrupted due to Covid-19.  BAS aircraft and supporting crew will soon arrive to supply the Antarctic research stations with vital staff, equipment and supplies.

Professor Dame Jane Francis FRS, Director of the British Antarctic Survey, says:

“We are very pleased that the Falkland Islands is our travel gateway to Antarctica for our summer 2021/22 field season. We have a long history with the Falkland Islands and are delighted that we’ve been able to strengthen relationships to ensure we can continue our vital scientific research in Antarctica. I’d like to thank the Falkland Islands Government for their support and assistance with Covid-19 protocols to keep everyone safe through the ongoing pandemic.”

Andy Keeling, Chief Executive for the Falkland Islands Government, added:

“We’re delighted to be able to support BAS again this summer with their science and operations programme. Their work is crucial, particularly in terms of helping to understand the impacts of climate change, which is why it is so important that we help facilitate this research. Their work will help to outline the true nature of the challenges facing the environment, and provide vital data and evidence for global benefit. Having worked closely with us last year, BAS have very well-rehearsed plans in place to help protect both their staff and the local community from Covid-19.”

Before heading to Antarctica and South Georgia, BAS staff will be quarantining in the Malvina House Hotel or private accommodation, including Darwin Lodge, using a bubble system for increased protection. This support from the community and local businesses is incredibly important and appreciated. Local quarantine requirements will be observed during their time in the Islands and staff will participate in the necessary pre-testing and swabbing regimes.

A flock of birds standing on top of a sandy beach.
Magellanic penguins on the beach at Gypsy Cove, Falkland Islands.