Neptune Aviation awarded new air tanker contract

The US Forest Service (USFS) awarded Neptune Aviation a new contract on a sole-source basis covering operation of two BAe 146 air tankers beginning next year. The contract will initially be for four years, and can be extended for up to five more years. It adds to the two 146 air tankers that Neptune already operates under a legacy contract. Neptune had been shut out of the ‘next generation’ air tanker contracts awarded in May. It initially protested those contracts, but dropped its protest in June. The USFS justified its sole-source award to Neptune on the need for additional large air tankers for the 2014 fire season, noting that five of the seven air tankers awarded contracts in June have missed their start dates and that the USFS is “not confident that five of the seven contracted NextGen airtankers will be available to fight fires in 2014.”

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