Intrepid travellers agree the only nuisance about a trip to the White Continent is getting there. But the faint-hearted can now bypass the sometimes violent Drake Passage by flying direct from Punta Arenas in Chile to the Antarctic Peninsula with DAP.
“Our first Antarctic flight was with a Twin Otter that had five drums of fuel inside, crossing the dangerous Drake Passage,” says Nicolas Pivcevic, now DAP’s CEO and grandson of the founder, Chilean-Croatian descendant Domingo Andrés Pivcevic. “Today 70 per cent of Antarctic flights leaving from the American continent are done by DAP.”
The airline has mastered the extreme conditions and now offers three daily flights from Punta Arenas to Porvenir (in the Isla Grande Tierra Del Fuego, almost impossible to reach by land but only a 12-minute flight) and Puerto Williams (reachable by sea or a one-hour flight) two remote towns in Southern Chile. Although the carrier operates for ENAP, the state-owned company, its business focuses on transporting tourists willing to endure the Pole’s low temperature and scientists working at research stations in Antarctica.
From its base in the Carlos Ibanez Del Campo International airport, the airline also operates a fleet of five specially equipped ICU helicopters together with its sister company AeroRescate, crewed by pilots, doctors and paramedics specialised in rescue operations.
2 BAe 146-200
1 Twin Otter
1 Beachcraft King air 100
1 Beachcraft King air 300
1 Cessna 414 Titan
2 Cessna 402
1 Casa 212
9 BO-105 helicopter
4 AS355-F2 helicopter
1 EC-135 helicopter
1 AS350B3 helicopter
2,400 to Antarctica and 25,000 in the Magellan region in 2011.
1979 when Domingo Andrés Pivcevic bought a Twin Otter looking to solve the lack of good connections in Patagonia.