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Coulson Aviation, a member of the Coulson Group, and New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW), have secured a deal to purchase one Boeing 737 Fireliner and two Citation V aircraft. The purchases are accompanied by a 10-year operational contract where Coulson will provide all flight and maintenance personnel.
The B737 Fireliner is the first large air tanker ever purchased by a country, and its multi-role capability will be highlighted in this unique new operation.
“When we started the B737 Fireliner program we set out to create a new generation of airtanker,” said Britton Coulson, vice-president of Aviation. “The goal was to utilize the latest SMART technology in our tanking system and create a multi-use firefighting aircraft that would create the best value for our customers.”
In 2018 the B737 Fireliner was Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified as an air tanker and passenger transport. The Fireliner packs 15,150 litres of fluid with unmatched performance in distance, speed and altitude while retaining the capability to transport up to 72 passengers.
“We are honoured to have our Boeing 737 Fireliner and Citation Vs chosen by RFS to protect the beautiful state of New South Wales. Our C-130 Hercules fleet has supported RFS for several years along with our first B737 Fireliner during the 2018/2019 fire season. We see the NSW government leading the industry with new creative solutions in protecting life and property,” said Wayne Coulson, president and CEO of the Coulson Group.
Coulson has been operating under contract with the Australian National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) in Australia since 2000 and the 2018/2019 fire season marked the first year Coulson was the largest in-country operator of Type 1 rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft.
NSW RFS acting commissioner Rob Rogers said that the RFS had evaluated several different large and very large air tankers over recent fire seasons and had settled on the B737 Fireliner as the preferred option, operated by Canadian based Coulson Aviation.
“This type of aircraft provides us with a fast, effective and flexible option for fighting fires year-round, and supporting firefighters on the ground,” said Rogers.
Foster Coulson, vice-president of Sales and Marketing, added, “With this contract now in place, Coulson Aviation PTY will establish a year-round operation in NSW to support its contracts at the RAAF base in Richmond where the B737 Fireliner will be pre-positioned to support the RFS this coming July.”