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US/NZ Antarctic partnership heats up at IceFest’s Air Day

US/NZ Antarctic partnership heats up at IceFest’s Air Day

2 October 2014

Visitors to the US Antarctic Program Air Day in Christchurch this Sunday are being offered behind the scenes access to a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster and its crew before they fly to Antarctica.

The US Antarctic Program Air Day is part of New Zealand IceFest 2014 and is sponsored by the US Embassy in collaboration with the American National Science Foundation and the Christchurch City Council.

US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Candy Green says America has a special connection with Christchurch that dates back to the 1950s when the US Antarctic Program first launched its operation out of the city.

“With New Zealand’s Scott Base being America’s closest neighbour in the Antarctic, the US enjoys a strong partnership with New Zealand on numerous scientific projects. For example, in 2010 we collaborated to establish the world’s southern-most wind farm and, alongside many other joint-initiatives, we’re working together to create a Marine Protected Area in the Ross Sea,” she says.

Each October, the US Air Force flies more than 3,500 Americans, including 800 scientists, via Christchurch to McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

As the gateway to the Antarctic, Christchurch is an integral part of US operations. The United States and other Antarctic activities utilise the services of 2300 employees, which deliver $103 million a year in benefits to the Christchurch region and $162 million to the New Zealand economy.

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Visitors to the Air Day will also have the chance try on the types of extreme-weather clothing used in Antarctica and at the South Pole and may purchase an Antarctic aviation themed beer back at Scott Base Café and Bar.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules will also be featured on the day.

Air Day is being held at Christchurch Airport from 10am-4pm. Entry is free but visitors wishing to attend are advised to pick up a free entry token, reserving a time slot from the NZ IceFest booth inside the International Antarctic Centre on the day.

ENDS

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