Erickson Air-Crane Incorporated (NASDAQ:EAC)(“Erickson” or “the Company”), a leading global provider of aviation services to a diverse mix of commercial and government customers, and the vertically-integrated manufacturer and operator of the powerful heavy-lift Erickson S-64 Aircrane helicopter, has announced the signing of a new, multi-year aerial firefighting contract to support National Aerial Firefighting Centre (“NAFC”) operations in Australia. The Company noted that this was its largest Australian firefighting contract to date, calling for the provision of six Aircrane helicopters, with the option for additional aircraft as needed, based on fire conditions and pending aircraft availability.
Udo Rieder, Chief Executive Officer of Erickson, commented, “Erickson has been saving lives and resources fighting fires in Australia for 16 years. This new contract represents an important continuation of our relationship with the NAFC, one of the world’s leading practitioners of aerial firefighting. We’re proud to maintain a deep and established presence in Australia with this contract, and believe that the NAFC’s ongoing commitment to Erickson reflects our excellent track record, high standard of service, and cost-effective solution. Our newest partner in the region, Kestrel Aviation – with whom we’re teaming to provide the full range of diversified aerial support – is an established helicopter company with deep experience fighting fire in the rugged Australian environment.”
The contract is for three years with two optional one-year extensions, with a total value of approximately $60 million. Erickson will provide six S-64 Aircrane helicopters, equipped with the Company’s proprietary, 2,650-gallon fire suppression system, a detachable water tank with multiple refill options and eight coverage levels for targeted fire suppression. Initially, two Aircranes will be stationed in Victoria, two in New South Wales, one in South Australia, and one in Western Australia. The Company noted that this contract is key to the global, seasonal optimization of its firefighting operations. Erickson is able to mitigate seasonality in this key market by procuring long term agreements in the alternating northern and southern hemisphere fire seasons.