Rothera runway, Rothera Point, Adelaide Island

Lat. 67°34'8"S, Long. 68°7'29"W

The runway at Rothera is 900 metres long (2,950 ft) and is made of crushed rock.

To the west of the runway lies the aircraft hangar, which houses the Dash-7 and three Twin Otter aircraft protecting them from the harshest weather. Within the shelter of the hangar, aircfraft engineers carry out all the necessary servicing of the aircraft.

aircraft in the Rothera Hangar
Rothera Research Station Hangar, with Twin Otter and Dash 7 aircraft

To the west also are the bulk fuel storage tanks, which are re-filled from ship each summer. The tank farm is surrounded by a bund wall that would contain the fuel if ever there was a spillage.

Well-equipped workshops are found in the centre of the site. Being in such a remote part of the world we have to be able to maintain all the station buildings, vehicles and equipment without outside help. There is a garage, and separate work areas for electricians, plumbers and builders.

Rothera Runway showing the landing lights
Rothera Runway showing the landing lights

The generator shed houses three Cummins engines that produce the stations electrical power need. In recent years improved management and use of new technologies have allowed us to reduce our overall electrical demand. There is currently a study into the use of suitable renewable energy sources compatible with the Antarctic environment and endemic wildlife.

Our water supply is provided through the use of ‘reverse osmosis’ filtration technology to convert sea water into potable fresh water. In the past, fresh water was produced by melting snow but this was always an energy-hungry solution.

Katie’s Journey to Antarctica – Part One

2 April, 2024 by Katie Handford

As the Antarctic winter season fast approaches, we’ll be following the journey of one of the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme’s (AIMP) Assistant Project Managers, Katie Handford as she gears up to spend winter at Rothera Research Station in Antarctica.

Antarctic Runway is upgraded to support UK hub for polar science

4 March, 2024

As part of the British Antarctic Survey’s Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme (AIMP), the runway at Rothera research station has successfully been resurfaced by construction company BAM and the design completed by Ramboll. The station is a major hub for international science in Antarctica, and this significant achievement is a pivotal moment for BAS and the UK’s future polar research capabilities.

Modernising our stations: news from Rothera

29 February, 2024

We’ve been modernising our Antarctic infrastructure for future generations of polar scientists. Construction in the Antarctic is challenging and the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme (AIMP) has made great progress at …

Update on construction season in Antarctica

12 May, 2023

Modernising Antarctic Infrastructure for Future Generations of Polar Scientists Specialist construction teams are travelling home to the UK after five months of work in Antarctica to modernise British Antarctic Survey …

New aircraft investment supports polar science

21 April, 2022

On 17 March 2022, Professor Dame Jane Francis, Director of the British Antarctic Survey, Nigel Bird, Director of Major Programmes at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Brian Love, Chief …

Future Air Capability

The Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme (AIMP) will invest in a new aircraft and runway enhancements to provide an essential link between South America and the Falkland Islands to Rothera Research Station in Antarctica.