Davis Aerodrome Project

Under Procurement
Davis Aerodrome Project

The Davis Aerodrome Project is a proposal to construct an aerodrome and paved runway capable of supporting year-round access to East Antarctica by the Australian Government. A combined Federal project team is being led by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD).

The proposal remains subject to environmental assessment. If approved, it will be the largest infrastructure project to take place on the Antarctic continent.

The proposed infrastructure includes:

  • a 2,700 metre paved, Code 4E runway capable of accommodating existing and future large aircrafts such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner (B787), Airbus A330, and the Royal Australian Air Force-operated Boeing C-17A Globemaster III (C-17)
  • aviation infrastructure including a taxiway, aircraft apron, runway lighting, and associated buildings
  • an access road from the station to the aerodrome
  • a new wharf, and
  • temporary station infrastructure to support the construction period and that essential to support the operation of the aerodrome.

The paved runway is proposed to be constructed from pre-cast concrete pavers, made in Australia, transported by ship and assembled on-site. Shipping and logistics support for the project would require a combination of large icebreaker and ice-strengthened cargo vessels. It is anticipated that one to two cargo deliveries would be required each year during the construction period.

Key Dates

May 2018 Project announced
Dec 2020 EOI phase one open
Feb 2021 EOI phase one close
Mar 2021 EOI phase two to open
2021 RFP Open
2022 Final investment decision by Australian Government
Jul 2022 Expected Contract Award
2040 Commencement of civilian flights

Funding contributions

Federal Government


Procuring Agency: Australian Antarctic Division
Tenderers (EOI/ROI): The EOI process will have two phases. Phase one will shortlist around four bidders for a more detailed EOI phase two. Shortlisted bidders from phase two will be invited for the Request for Proposal stage.
Procurement note:

The project will be procured under a Competitive Alliance model.

Related contracts:
Aerodrome Technical Advisor
Successful Tenderer - AECOM

Commercial Advisor:
Successful Tenderer - KPMG

Davis Station Technical Advisor:
Successful Tenderer - WSP

Environmental Impact Assessment Advisor:
Successful Tenderer - AECOM

Legal Advisor
Successful Tenderer - MinterEllison

Probity Advisor
Successful Tenderer - Maddocks

Quantity Surveyor / Cost Consultant:
Successful Tenderer - WT Partnership


Apr 2016 The Australian Antarctic Strategy and 20 Year Action Plan committed to explore options for year-round aviation access.
May 2018 The Australian Government announced its intention to construct a paved runway near the Davis research station. Initial funding of $9.465 million was allocated for the project to complete further scoping options and prepare a business case in order for the Government to take an initial business case investment decision.
Dec 2019 The Australian Government committed $58.8 million additional funding over two-and-a-half years to advance the design and environmental assessments required for the Davis Aerodrome Project.
Jan 2020 The proposal was opened for public comment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999).
Feb 2020 An ice-free site in the Vestfold Hills near Davis research station was selected for the proposed Davis aerodrome.
May 2020 The AAD advised the market via AusTender of its intention to adopt a ‘Competitive Alliance’ delivery model, with Expressions of Interest to be sought later in 2020. Through the process, the AAD plans to shortlist two tenderers to submit a detailed proposal including a target cost.
Jun 2020 An advanced industry briefing was released via AusTender on 3 June 2020, detailing the infrastructure requirements, construction and environmental challenges and the tentative delivery model.
Oct 2020 The AAD released a Request For Tender closing on 9 November via AusTender for the Provision of Building Surveyor Adviser Services for the project.
Dec 2020 The Federal Government through its Australian Antarctic Division opened Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for delivery of the Davis Aerodrome Project, with phase one EOIs closing on 9 February 2020. More details to be provided at an online EOI Industry Briefing held on 17 December, with registration for the briefing closing on 16 December.
May 2021 The 2021-22 Federal Budget committed to provide additional funding to progress planning for the project but withheld the specific allocation due to commercial-in-confidence sensitivities.
Jun 2021 The Australian Antarctic Division opened an Industry Participation Register for local and national businesses to participate in the the project. The register is to be provided to the future Project Alliance for potential engagement in project delivery.