The Chilean airline specializes in travel to Antarctica.
For readers in the northern hemisphere, the festive period is often associated with wintery conditions. There are few parts of the world, if anywhere, that exemplify these better than Antarctica. One of the few carriers serving the region is Chilean operator Aerovías DAP, which stands out due to certain jets looking like penguins!
DAP came into existence in 1980, with this acronym at the back end of its name standing for the initials of its founder, Domingo Andrés Pivcevic. The airline has its headquarters in Punta Arenas. This city in the southern tip of Chile is also home to DAP's main operating base, at Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport (PUQ).
Initially, DAP's operations focused on connecting the Magallanes Region of southern Chile. This area also comprises part of Antarctica, although flights there would follow later. Data from ch-aviation.com shows that the De Havilland Canada DHC 6-300 'Twin Otter' with which it commenced operations remains at DAP today.
This 19-seater aircraft bears the registration CC-CHV, and it is now around 42 years old, having first flown back in June 1980. Its delivery to DAP followed three months later. As the carrier's fleet grew with the addition of other propeller-driven aircraft and even Boeing jetliners, so did its network, with flights to the Falkland Islands.
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Since February 1989, DAP has connected Punta Arenas with Antarctica by flying to the region's Teniente Rodolfo Marsh Martin Airport (TRM) on King George Island. Initially using the DHC-6-300 'Twin Otter' for these flights, DAP later added larger aircraft to its roster for such services, including the four-engined Dash 7-100.
It is worth noting that DAP's flights to Antarctica are charters, and, thus, do not operate on a regularly scheduled basis. As such, these aircraft were also deployed elsewhere on its network when not flying to and from the wintery region. The carrier has deployed BAe 146 and Avro RJ quadjets on these routes since 2007.
DAP's flights to Antarctica operate under a brand known as Antarctic Airways. According to the carrier's website, it offers both single-day and overnight packages, with these costing $6,050 and $7,150 per person respectively. Depending on the aircraft used, varying minimum numbers of passengers are required for the trips.
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As seen in the photograph above, DAP has recently taken to celebrating the Antarctic wildlife by adorning certain aircraft with striking penguin-themed liveries. Data from ATDB.aero shows that two BAe 146-200s and one Avro RJ100 aircraft in DAP's fleet currently wear these color schemes, which it began rolling out in 2017.
According to ch-aviation, DAP currently has a total of 12 aircraft at its disposal. These have an average age of 33.9 years, with the aforementioned 42-year-old Twin Otter helping drag this upward. Also present are four Avro RJ100s, two RJ85s, four BAe 146-200s (of which two have a 'QT suffix) and a single BAe 146-100.
What do you make of Aerovías DAP's fleet, history, and operations? Have you ever flown with this carrier? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!
Sources: Aerovías DAP, ATDB.aero, ch-aviation.com
Journalist – A graduate in German, Jake has a passion for aviation history, and enjoys sampling new carriers and aircraft even if doing so demands an unorthodox itinerary. A keen amateur photographer, he also recently reached the milestone of flying his 100th sector as a passenger. Based in Norwich, UK.