The first flight to Antarctica for six months will depart from Christchurch today.

Following three months of darkness and half a year in isolation, the arrival of spring means the flights can resume to the icy continent.

A US Air Force C-17 Globemaster is being used for the mission.

Scott Base Winter Leader Nathan Cross says the plane will deliver fresh fruit and vegetables, mail and new staff to the New Zealand and US Antarctic stations.

Twenty-six New Zealanders have been stationed at Scott Base for the winter to research the formation of sea ice.