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Aviation company in BC converting Boeing 737-700 into world’s highest capacity air tanker for firefighting

An aviation company in Port Alberni welcomed the arrival of a recently purchased Boeing 737-700 aircraft, which will be used to fight fires in BC after conversion work is done.

Coulson Aviation says this is their company’s first Boeing 737-700, and they’ll be converting it into the world’s highest capacity Large Air Tanker (LAT).

<Who>Photo credit: Coulson Aviation

The plane was bought from Southwest Airlines, and is the first of up to 10 aircraft Coulson will acquire from them.

Once complete, the plane will have an increased capacity of 19,000 litres. It will also feature reduced fuel burn, increased range, and higher speed, raising the bar for LATs worldwide.

The company says that, with up to double the volume of competing LATs, this aircraft can arrive at the fire earlier and will increase the success of initial attack missions, keeping fires smaller.

Coulson is looking at a timeline of 18 to 24 months for the conversion and engineering certifications to be completed for the aircraft, meaning it could possibly be operational in late 2025

<Who>Photo credit: Coulson Aviation
Britt Coulson, President and COO of Coulson, says the new 737-700 Next Gen FIRELINER program will build on their existing 737-300 platform.

“The FIRELINER platform has been the go-to Large Air Tanker for foreign governments to purchase due to its unique multi-role capability allowing it to transport passengers when not deployed on active firefighting missions as well as supports a streamlined process in finding both flight and maintenance crew and aircraft parts,” explains Coulson.

The company adds that these larger, more capable aircraft are an important tool to extinguish a fire while they are small—before they turn into mega fires that endanger and affect lives and property.

<Who>Photo credit: Coulson Aviation



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