Transport in the Falkland Islands

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The Falkland Islands currently has three primary means of transport - road, sea and air. However, in 1946, when Sir Miles Clifford arrived as governor, there were no air services, no roads outside Stanley and an indifferent sea service. Sir Miles was instrumental in starting the Falkland Islands Government Air Service in December 1948. The inaugural flight involved a mercy flight from North Arm Settlement to Stanley to bring a girl with peritonitis to life-saving medical help in Stanley. [1] There is now an international airport, a domestic airport, a number of airstrips, a growing road network and a much-improved ferry service between the two main islands.



Typical Falkland Islands road Falkland Islands road.jpg
Typical Falkland Islands road

In 1982, the Falkland Islands had no roads outside Stanley, only tracks. [2] By 2007, the Falkland Islands had a road network of 488 miles (786 km) with a further roads planned for construction link to all occupied mainland settlements by 2013. [3] In 2012, the Falkland Islands Government classified the 536 miles (862 km) road network - East Falkland 304 miles (489 km) and West Falkland 232 miles (373 km) - into "A" roads, "B" roads and "C" roads for purposes of Highways Asset Management Plan. The "A" roads are the 75 miles (121 km) link between Stanley and New Haven (East Falkland) and the 48 miles (78 km) link between Port Howard and Fox Bay (West Falkland). [4] All roads within Stanley are asphalted as are the ones at Mount Pleasant Airport (MPA). The road between Stanley and MPA is mostly gravel all-weather roads (as like the rest of the roads in the islands) with some short asphalted sections. [5] [6] [7] The road between Stanley and MPA has a large trench on either side, which will ground any vehicle driving into it. These trenches were allegedly dug deeper than they needed to be as annual rainfall was taken as a number for the monthly rainfall. [8]

Stanley has two taxi services which can be used for travel within the town and the surrounding areas. A variety of four-wheel drive vehicles can be hired in Stanley, which are essential for travel along unpaved roads that are potentially badly potholed. [9] [10] A bus service ferries passengers between the main airport for international flights at Mount Pleasant and Stanley. [11] Bicycles can also be hired, though because of the unsealed roads and hilly terrain, these are more suitable for use around the Stanley area. [12]

Speed limits are 25 mph (40 km/h) in built-up areas and 40 mph (64 km/h) elsewhere. [13]


Stanley Harbour Stanley-Harbour.jpg
Stanley Harbour

There are two seaports in the Falkland Islands, Stanley (East Falkland) and Fox Bay (West Falkland). The designated harbours in Stanley area include Berkeley Sound, Port William and Stanley Harbour itself. [14] Fox Bay is also a customs entry point for West Falkland. The Falkland Islands do not have a merchant navy.

Since November 2008, a regular ferry service has linked the two main islands, carrying cars, passengers and cargo. The ferry, MV Concordia Bay , a 42.45 m twin-screw shallow draft (2.59 m) landing craft [15] runs between Port Howard in West Falkland and New Haven in East Falkland. [16] She has a deck, 30 m in length and 10 m in width which is sufficient for 16 one-ten Land Rovers (or equivalent) and accommodation for 30 passengers. She also has a crane that is capable of lifting 10 tonnes at 7 m. She also visits some of the smaller islands.

Other smaller boats may be chartered in advance.

Tourist cruise ships often visit many of the islands, making use of inflatable boats where adequate docking facilities are not available. [16]


A 2-foot (610 mm) gauge railway, known as the Camber Railway, was built along the north side of Stanley Harbour in 1915-1916 and used until the 1920s. It was about 3.5 miles (5.6 km) long. The trackbed is still visible. [17]


BN-2B Islander VP-FBD operated by the Falkland Islands Government Air Service, Stanley, 1994 Islander.JPG
BN-2B Islander VP-FBD operated by the Falkland Islands Government Air Service, Stanley, 1994

The Falkland Islands have two airports with paved runways. The main international airport is RAF Mount Pleasant, 27 miles (43 km) west of Stanley. [18] LAN Airlines operate weekly flights to Punta Arenas. Once a month, this flight also stops in Río Gallegos, Argentina. [19]

The Royal Air Force operates flights from RAF Mount Pleasant to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, England, with a refuelling stop at Dakar, Senegal, because the runway at RAF Ascension Island is closed until at least 2019. [20] This service is called the South Atlantic Airbridge.

As of 2011 Titan Airways operates the RAF air link, using Boeing 767s. British International (BRINTEL) also operate two Sikorsky S61N helicopters, based at RAF Mount Pleasant, under contract to the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence, primarily for moving military personnel, equipment and supplies around the islands.

A Britten-Norman Islander owned by FIGAS touching down at a landing strip on Sea Lion Island 2635-sea-lion-figas-plane RJ.jpg
A Britten-Norman Islander owned by FIGAS touching down at a landing strip on Sea Lion Island

The smaller Port Stanley Airport, outside the city, is used mainly for internal flights. The Falkland Islands Government Air Service (FIGAS) operates Islander aircraft that can use the grass airstrips that most settlements have. Flight schedules are decided a day in advance according to passenger needs and the next day's timetable is published every evening. The schedules are based on three routes - a Northern Shuttle and the Southern Shuttle that each have one flight a day and the East - West Shuttle that has a morning and an evening flight every day. [21]

The British Antarctic Survey operates a transcontinental air link between Port Stanley Airport and the Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula and servicing also other British bases in the British Antarctic Territory using a de Havilland Canada Dash 7. [22]

Related Research Articles

History of the Falkland Islands

The history of the Falkland Islands goes back at least five hundred years, with active exploration and colonisation only taking place in the 18th century. Nonetheless, the Falkland Islands have been a matter of controversy, as they have been claimed by the French, British, Spaniards and Argentines at various points.

Geography of the Falkland Islands Geography of the Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands are located in the South Atlantic Ocean between 51°S and 53°S on a projection of the Patagonian Shelf, part of the South American continental shelf. In ancient geological time this shelf was part of Gondwana, and around 400 million years ago split from what is now Africa and drifted westwards from it. Today the islands are subjected to the Roaring Forties, winds that shape both their geography and climate.

Military of the Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands are a British overseas territory and, as such, rely on the United Kingdom for the guarantee of their security. The other UK territories in the South Atlantic, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, fall under the protection of British Forces South Atlantic Islands (BFSAI), formerly known as British Forces Falkland Islands (BFFI), which includes commitments from the British Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. They are headed by the Commander of the British Forces South Atlantic Islands (CBFSAI).

Transport within the Caribbean islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis includes normal road traffic, public buses, taxis, ferries, airports, and one unusual railway.

Stanley, Falkland Islands Chief port and town of the Falkland Islands

Stanley is the capital of the Falkland Islands. It is located on the island of East Falkland, on a north-facing slope in one of the wettest parts of the islands. At the 2016 census, the town had a population of 2,460. The entire population of the Falkland Islands was 3,398 on Census Day on 9 October 2016.

RAF Mount Pleasant British military airfield and support unit in the Falkland Islands

RAF Mount Pleasant is a Royal Air Force station in the British Overseas Territory of the Falkland Islands. The airfield goes by the motto of "Defend the right" and is part of the British Forces South Atlantic Islands (BFSAI). Home to between 1,000 and 2,000 British military personnel, it is about 33 miles (53 km) southwest of Stanley, the capital of the Falklands – on the island of East Falkland. The world's longest corridor, 800 metres long, links the barracks, messes, and recreational and welfare areas of the station, and was nicknamed the "Death Star Corridor" by personnel.

West Falkland Island in Falkland Islands, Atlantic Ocean

West Falkland is the second largest of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. It is a hilly island, separated from East Falkland by the Falkland Sound. Its area is 4,532 square kilometres, 37% of the total area of the islands. Its coastline is 1,258.7 kilometres long.

East Falkland Island in Falkland Islands, Atlantic Ocean

East Falkland is the largest island of the Falklands in the South Atlantic, having an area of 6,605 km2 or 54% of the total area of the Falklands. The island consists of two main land masses, of which the more southerly is known as Lafonia; it is joined by a narrow isthmus that was the scene of the Battle of Goose Green during the Falklands War.

Weddell Island Island in the Falkland Islands

Weddell Island is one of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, lying off the southwest extremity of West Falkland. It is situated 1,545 km (960 mi) west-northwest of South Georgia Island, 1,165 km (724 mi) north of Livingston Island, 606 km (377 mi) northeast of Cape Horn, 358 km (222 mi) northeast of Isla de los Estados, and 510 km (320 mi) east of the Atlantic entrance to Magellan Strait.

Camp (Falkland Islands)

The Camp is the term used in the Falkland Islands to refer to any part of the islands outside the islands' only significant town, Stanley, and often the large RAF base at Mount Pleasant. It is derived from the Spanish word campo, for "countryside".

Falkland Islands Company

The Falkland Islands Company Ltd. (FIC) was founded in 1851 and was granted a Royal Charter to Trade in 1852 by Queen Victoria. Locally known as FIC, it is a diversified goods and services company owned by FIH group plc.

Port Stanley Airport Civilian airport at Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

Port Stanley Airport is an airport in the Falkland Islands, two miles outside the capital, Stanley. The airport is the only civilian airport in the islands with a paved runway. However, RAF Mount Pleasant, located to the west of Stanley, functions as the islands' main international airport, because it has a long runway and allows civilian flights. Port Stanley Airport is operated by the Government of the Falkland Islands, and is used for internal flights between the islands and flights between the Falklands and Antarctica.

Falkland Islands Government Air Service

Falkland Islands Government Air Service (FIGAS) is an airline based at Port Stanley Airport, Falkland Islands. It operates unscheduled passenger services throughout the Falkland Islands. It also undertakes aerial surveillance of the exclusive economic zone surrounding the islands.

Stanley Harbour

Stanley Harbour is a large inlet on the east coast of East Falkland island. A strait called "the Narrows" leads into Port William.

Mare Harbour

Mare Harbour is a small settlement on East Falkland, on Choiseul Sound. It is mostly used as a port facility and depot for RAF Mount Pleasant, as well as a deepwater port used by the Royal Navy ships patrolling the South Atlantic and Antarctica, which means that the main harbour of the islands, Stanley Harbour tends to deal with commercial transport.

Transport in Guernsey

Guernsey is the second largest of the Channel Islands. It is part of the Common Travel Area, allowing passport-free travel to and from the United Kingdom or Jersey. Travel to and from mainland Europe requires a passport or an EU national identity document. Non EU citizens may need a visa.

RAF Navy Point was a Royal Air Force base in the Falkland Islands. Set on a peninsula on which Canopus Hill, Stanley Airport and Gypsy Cove lie, together with a narrow spit of land known as Navy Point, which effectively divides Port William from Stanley Harbour. A small detachment of RAF SAR Helicopters of No. 1564 Flight RAF were based here until the Detachment was moved to RAF Mount Pleasant when the new base opened.

Weddell Settlement

Weddell Settlement is the only settlement on Weddell Island in the Falkland Islands, situated on the east coast of the island at the head of the sheltered Gull Harbour, part of Queen Charlotte Bay. It is located at 51°53′46″S60°54′27″W, which is 12.15 kilometres (7.55 mi) northeast of Race Point, 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) south by west of Swan Point, 212 kilometres (132 mi) west-southwest of Stanley and 56.6 kilometres (35.2 mi) west of Fox Bay on West Falkland.

COVID-19 pandemic in the Falkland Islands Ongoing COVID-19 viral pandemic in the Falkland Islands

The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached to the Falkland Islands on 3 April 2020. The number of cases peaked at 13, and all were from the military base at Mount Pleasant. There were no confirmed cases amongst the general population of the Falkland Islands. All patients have recovered. On 10 November, a new case was discovered.


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  3. "Transport and Communication". Falkland Islands Government. Archived from the original on 16 December 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2010.Source uses metric units.
  4. "Priorities for Roads Maintenance, Increased Funding for Grading, Capping and for Surfacing the MPA Road" (PDF). Falkland Islands Executive Council. 25 April 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2012.Source uses metric units.
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  12. "Bicycle Hire". web page. Falkland Islands Tourist Board. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  13. "The Falkland Islands" (PDF). Falkland Islands Tourist Board. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 July 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  14. Falkland Islands Ports & Harbours: Information – 2010. Archived 22 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  15. "Concordia Bay". Holyhead Towing Company Ltd. 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  16. 1 2 "Getting Around Falkland Islands: By boat". Falkland Islands Travel Guide. iGuide: Interactive Travel Guide. Retrieved 23 July 2010.
  17. "The Camber Railway, Falkland Islands". 18 October 2010. Archived from the original on 26 March 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  18. "Map Crow Travel Distance Calculator". 23 October 2007. Retrieved 24 July 2010.43.28 km in source.
  19. "Official Tourism Website of the Falkland Islands". Falkland Islands Tourist Board. Retrieved 10 March 2011.
  21. "Internal Flights (FIGAS)". Getting Around the Falkland Islands. Falkland Islands Tourist Board. Retrieved 23 July 2010.
  22. "Aircraft in Antarctica". British Antarctic Survey. 2012. Archived from the original on 29 January 2008. Retrieved 9 July 2012.

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