By Ben Warwick

COLORADO SPRINGS (CBS4) – Global SuperTanker is shutting down operations permanently. The company, which has fought wildfires around the world, was not issued a renewal of their approval from the federal government.

The group will now search for a buyer for the Boeing 747 used to deliver fire retardant. All employees have been furloughed.

(credit: CBS)

Up until recently, Tanker 944 spent several weeks in Moses Lake, Washington, undergoing maintenance including a requested change to a digital retardant delivery system. The plane was certified by the federal government to carry 17,200 pounds of retardant.

(credit: El Paso County)

In an April 2020 National Wildfire Coordination Group letter to the head of the National Interagency Aviation Committee, a notice was given that renewal for use under a federal government contract would not be given.

The investment company that owns the SuperTanker is Alterna Capital Partners. Roger Miller, Alterna Managing Partner, issued a statement that said, in part:

“Over the past three years, [Global SuperTanker Services] has made enormous strides in making the 19,000-gallon SuperTanker a valuable tool in the arsenal of the USFS, CAL FIRE and numerous states, and is operationally cash flow positive.

“However, the technology investment to upgrade the drop the system and the 747-400 aircraft was very significant. The economics under the company’s current federal “call when needed” contract are such that the investment will take longer to realize profitability than previously expected.

“Unfortunately, the 2009 vintage Alterna fund that owns GSTS has a 10-year finite life and does not have the resources to see the vision to come to fruition. Accordingly, the decision has been made to immediately cease all GSTS operations and look for alternatives to maximize the value of the team, the drop system and the 747-400 aircraft.”

Click here to read the full statement.

Ben Warwick