MISSOULA, Mont. - Missoula's Neptune Aviation Services is fighting mad. NBC Montana told you how the company lost out on a $40 million firefighting contract with the U.S. Forest Service.
Tuesday afternoon we caught up with Ron Hooper, the CEO of Neptune Aviation, to get his thoughts on the new U.S. Forest Service contracts.
USFS had seven "next generation contracts" available for aviation vendors totaling $158 million.
Missoula's Neptune Aviation Services put in for two of those contracts and Hooper tells us he's frustrated they didn't get any of them.
Hooper tells us the existing contract with the Forest Service will remain the same with six P2Vs and one BAE-146 air tanker.
Hooper tells us landing the next generation contracts would have meant more job stability for the company's 150 employees and the addition of even more jobs.
He said it's a major setback to the company that is working very hard to expand, and he fears with the next generation contracts lasting 5-10 years, that it will negatively impact the business.
Hooper tells NBC Montana Neptune has asked USFS for a debriefing on why its air tankers weren't awarded next generation contracts. After that they plan to file an appeal.
NBC Montana is going to follow this story and bring you the latest details as we learn more.