Airbus has won the $3 billion contract for Canada’s next search-and-rescue plane.
The Airbus C-295 turboprop military transport plane was chosen over the Italian-based Team Spartan’s C-27J (Leonardo) and a KC-390 jet manufactured by Brazil’s Embraer.
The 16 new planes will replace the current fixed-wing fleet of six CC-115 Buffalo aircraft and 13 CC-130H Hercules aircraft that are being used for SAR missions.
The hunt for new planes to replace the almost half-century old planes has been a long one – originally, it was the Paul Martin administration that began the hunt.
With Airbus as the winner, communities on north and central Vancouver Island are likely benefit from the deal.
Minister of jobs, tourism and skills training Shirley Bond said that the location of the new training facility would be good for B.C.
“We are pleased to hear of Airbus’ plans to locate a flight-training facility and simulator in Comox, B.C. This will provide a tremendous benefit to small businesses and communities in the region,” Bond said, adding that B.C.;s aerospace industry is the third biggest in Canada and generates $1.3 billion for the province’s GDP. The new Airbus facility will be located at 19 Wing Comox.
That’s not all – Coulson Aviation, based out of Port Alberni, signed a memorandum of understanding to provide the tanking system for Airbus’ C295W’s back in late 2015.
Coulson Group CEO Wayne Coulson said the announcement was good news for Vancouver Island.
“It is great news that Airbus has won the SAR contract from a Coulson perspective as we have an existing relationship with Airbus that we will continue to build,” said Coulson.
“There are significant opportunities for Port Alberni and Vancouver Island and it will be up to the communities and companies to draw in Airbus to support this multi billion contract.”
In an interview earlier this year, Coulson told Black Press that if Airbus were to win the deal, they would have to spend a $3 billion offset somewhere in Canada. Currently, only one-third of that money is committed.