Operations and Maintenance Contract Awarded for New Air Tanker Fleet

YELLOWKNIFE (December 2, 2016) – Buffalo Airways Ltd. has been awarded the contract to provide operation and maintenance of the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) Air Tractor 802A FireBoss Amphibious Water Bomber (FireBoss) fleet.

The Government of the Northwest Territories signed the contract with Joe McBryan, President of Buffalo Airways Ltd yesterday.

The contract is for a five-year period, covering the 2017-2018 to 2020-2021 wildland fire seasons with an option to extend the contract for additional five years.


“I am very pleased the successful proponent for this specialized aviation services contract is a northern company. It demonstrates the competitiveness of the aviation industry in the Northwest Territories for specialized aerial suppression services in support of wildland fire preparedness and operations.”
- Robert C. McLeod, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources 

Quick Facts:

  • Buffalo Airways was one of three proponents that submitted proposals.
  • An open, competitive procurement process was used to award the contract. The process was coordinated by Procurement Shared Services and overseen by an independent Fairness Commissioner to ensure transparency and fairness. Proposals were evaluated on technical solutions, pricing and the NWT Business Incentive Policy.
  • The contract includes supply and operation of birddog aircraft, pilots, engineers and maintenance capacity for the FireBoss fleet.
  • The new FireBoss fleet of eight aircraft will be in service for the 2017 wildland fire season. The new aircraft replace four GNWT-owned skimmer aircraft (CL-215).
  • The FireBoss aircraft is capable of working as a land-based aircraft or as an amphibious aircraft. It can skim water from nearby water sources to continue fighting a fire without having to return to base.
  • The FireBoss can load up to 3,025 litres of water in 15 seconds and be back on its way to the fire line in less than 30 seconds.
  • The targeting accuracy of the FireBoss will allow firefighting resources to take a more aggressive approach to fighting a wildland fire.

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Media Inquiries:

Judy McLinton, Manager
Public Affairs and Communications
Environment and Natural Resources
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: (867) 767-9231 ext. 53041
Email: judy_mclinton@gov.nt.ca