Port Alberni’s Coulson Aviation receives $3.4 million for FireLiner air tankers

New 737 FireLiner the first of its kind in aerial firefighting industry

A Vancouver Island aviation company has received a $3.4 million investment from the federal government for its ambitious work in the aerial firefighting industry.

Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, was at the Alberni Valley Regional Airport (AVRA) on Thursday, Oct. 11 to announce this repayable investment in Coulson Aviation through the Strategic Innovation Fund. The family-owned aviation company, based in Port Alberni, has been working on converting six Boeing 737 passenger airplanes into dual-purpose aerial firefighting tankers and passenger aircraft. The FireLiners include a 4,000-gallon capacity for water or retardant and 66 seats for moving fire personnel.

READ: Coulson Aviation’s first 737 jets arrive in Port Alberni

This project, said Qualtrough, is putting Canada at the forefront of the aerial firefighting industry.

“Port Albern is at the centre of Canada’s forest industry,” she said on Thursday. “With forests come the risk of forest fire. That means that Coulson is geographically well-situated to design, develop and manufacture the aerial firefighting technology of the future.”

Wayne Coulson, president and CEO, introduced the first FireLiner of the fleet on Thursday. The new aircraft finished all of its flight-testing in the U.S. and will be in Australia within a week, where it has picked up a five-year contract. It will be the first 737 ever used in fire suppression.

“This has never been done before,” said Qualtrough. “This innovative project will solve a real problem and increase efficiency by providing the ability to deliver both fire retardant and firefighting personnel at the same time.”

Coulson said the eventual goal is to have the crafts fighting fires in British Columbia.

“Hopefully at some point in time, we’d like to get them back here at home in B.C.,” he said.

This new investment by the federal government, said Qualtrough, will create up to 15 new jobs, while maintaining 73 more in Port Alberni. Coulson Aviation will also continue to partner with post-secondary institutions for the “local development of skilled aerospace workers.”

Coulson thanked the City of Port Alberni and the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District for their support on Thursday. It is because of the region’s airport, which reopened last year after an $8 million expansion, that the 737s were able to land on the new runway.

Mayor Mike Ruttan said on Thursday that this is exactly what the region was hoping for in its new airport when the expansion was announced.

“This couldn’t have happened without all of us working together,” he added.

PROGRESS 2017: Expanded airport means economic growth in Port Alberni

Although Coulson Group of Companies also operates the famed Martin Mars air tankers—the largest water bombers in the world—Coulson chose not to speak to the Mars bombers on Thursday.

READ: Martin Mars waterbombers’ firefighting days are past: Coulson

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

 

Just Posted

Mommy’s Inside Voice: Yes, Vancouver Island, there is a Santa Claus

The holidays are a truly magical time of year

Vancouver Island drivers brave minefield of potholes as bureaucrats play pass-the-buck

Confusion reigns over responsibility for maintenance offoot-deep potholes near Campbell River

UVic student’s Christmas wishlist includes three front teeth

Taylor Fawcett used humour and a Christmas song to raise funds for missing teeth

Canadian students are smart cookies

Canadian teachers also among highest paid in the developed world

Courtenay family looking for help after baby born two months premature

A GoFundMe page has been set up as a difficult pregnancy and a long stay in Victoria have left the family struggling to get by

Victoria Canadian Tire replaces toys stolen from Salvation Army

Children won’t have to go without toys this Christmas

Man exposes himself to woman waiting for bus in Campbell River

Police responded to a complaint that a male had exposed himself to… Continue reading

Victoria breakfast icon is shutting its doors

Floyd’s Diner is closing its Quadra and Yates streets location

Two men caught trying to steal thousands in merchandise from Duncan Canadian Tire

RCMP got a call from the store manager who was watching live footage of one man inside the store.

Campbell River School District calls for report on buses and seat-belts

Parents have questions following expose on research around buses and safety

Publication ban on name of girl killed in Abbotsford school lifted

Reimer’s family had supported an application by Black Press to lift ban

B.C. securities regulator probes ‘most expansive’ alleged trading scheme in its history

Liht Cannabis Corp states it’s doing internal investigation, welcomes BC Securities Commission probe

Air passenger rights: 6 things about what the Liberals are offering

For 3- to 6-hour delays, compensation is $400. Between 6 and 9 hours, $700. Over 9 hours is $1,000

RCMP, civilian vehicles rammed in North Okanagan incident

Police attempt to stop truck near Enderby, thought to be tied to alleged Salmon Arm armed robbery

Most Read