King George Island
an old military base in the South Shetland Islands
Information about King George Island
The largest of the South Shetland Islands, King George Island lies only 75 miles from the coast of the Antarctic continent. With historical claims made by Britain, Chile and Argentina, the island is also known as Isla Rey Jorge and Isla 25 de Mayo.
The importance of King George Island to many Antarctic bases is the 1,300m long airstrip maintained by the permanently occupied Chilean Base Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva. This provides a lifeline as an airbridge for personnel and supplies for many other Antarctic bases and research stations.
The presence of the airstrip allows King George Island to be used as a "fly-cruise" destination. Flying from Chile across the Drake Passage saves up to 3 days at sea, allowing Antarctic exploration for those with less time to take a full cruise.