Coulson Aviation received a boost from the federal government, as they expand their made-in-Port Alberni firefighting aircraft.
The company recently purchased six Boeing 737s from Southwest Airlines, and has begun installing a 4000 gallon tank system, and seats for moving firefighters from place to place – making the Coulson Fireliner the first multipurpose water bomber.
Federal Minister of Public Services and Procurement Carla Qualtrough was in Port Alberni yesterday to announce a $3.4 million repayable investment that company President and CAO Wayne Coulson says will help them get more planes into action sooner.
Coulson said the announcement shows confidence in his company, and their 125 Port Alberni-based workers.
With three C-130 Hurcules aircraft working in the United States, and another 7 aircraft heading to Australia by November 1st, Coulson said he’s still trying to get back in to the BC market.
He said the work being done on the Fireliner is the most extensive modifications ever done to a 737.
The first fireliner is almost complete, and will be going to work in Australia soon, while a second plane is being stripped down in the hangar here, and the others are parked in the United States, waiting to be brought to Port Alberni for conversion.