New air tanker contracts to be short term

The USFS issued a new solicitation for “up to five” large air tankers on 3 December. While previous such exclusive-use contracts had generally been multi-year contracts, this solicitation would be for one-year contracts, with options to renew for up to four more years. This approach, which is driven by budget constraints, threatens to limit the conversion of additional BAe 146s and Avro RJs to air tankers, as lenders might be hesitant to finance the conversion without a guaranteed multi-year revenue stream.

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