London Stansted-based charter operator Titan Airways has won the contract to operate the 'air bridge' between the UK and the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic.

The twice-weekly flights are operated from the UK Royal Air Force's main transport base at Brize Norton to the Mount Pleasant military air base on the Falklands.

Titan has operated on the route previously, when extensive runway repairs in 2010 at Mount Pleasant meant that the runway was only open for one 24h period per week. Titan was brought in for around six months to help the incumbent operator on the run, Air Seychelles, provide the necessary second flight within the 24h window.

Air Seychelles had been operating the service since early in 2010 and had a contract that was due to run until the end of 2011. Air Seychelles could not be reached for comment.

Titan has now been awarded the service, which came into effect on 4 September for a 12-month period. Like Air Seychelles, the UK-based airline will operate a Boeing 767-300ER on the route.

The aircraft will seat around 200 passengers, compared to the aircraft's normal 265-seat configuration; a medevac section at the rear of the cabin will contain stretchers with life support equipment plus two business-class seats for personnel suffering foot injuries.

Both outbound and return flights will make a stop at Ascension Island in the South Atlantic to take on fuel. The service will also use the stop to embark and disembark personnel on the island, which houses one of five ground antennae for the Global Positioning System and a European Space Agency tracking radar.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news