State leaders applaud new Neptune Aviation contract


MISSOULA – The U.S. Forest Service is in the final stages of approving a new contract for Neptune Aviation of Missoula, and Montana’s Congressional Delegation is praising the move.

The deal would be for at least four years and up to nine years of providing Next Generation Large Air Tanker Services to fight wildfires. The contract will be finalized in ten business days to allow other companies to appeal.

Earlier this year, Neptune lost its contract, but it appealed. Some Montana political heavyweights, including Senator Jon Tester, helped challenge the decision. In a news release Tester said “Neptune Aviation has helped protect homes and communities for two decades and today’s news means that the men and women of Neptune will continue flying,”

Senator Max Baucus applauded the news. “We continually put on the pressure to cut through the red tape so Neptune can keep doing what it does best: protecting people and their property from devastating wildfires,” Baucus said.

Representative Steve Daines said that the decision insures that “Montana is well-equipped to protect our communities and fight wildfires in coming years.”

Neptune has 100 employees in Missoula.