Over the past three years, GSTS has made enormous strides in making the 19,000-gallon SuperTanker a valuable tool in the arsenal of the USFS, CAL FIRE and numerous states, and is operationally cash flow-positive. However, the technology investment to upgrade the drop system and the 747-400 aircraft was very significant. The economics under the company’s current federal ‘call-when-needed’ contract are such that the investment will take longer to realize profitability than previously expected.
Unfortunately, the 2009 vintage Alterna fund that owns GSTS has a 10-year finite life and does not have the resources to see the vision to come to fruition. Accordingly, the decision has been made to immediately cease all GSTS operations and look for alternatives to maximize the value of the team, the drop system and the 747-400 aircraft.
Actively pursuing various options
Alterna is actively pursuing various options, including but not limited to the recapitalization of GSTS as an aerial firefighting business, the sale of GSTS to strategic or other investors and / or the sale of the aircraft as a freighter. The option to sell the aircraft as freighter has been in part driven by the Covid-19 crisis, which has led to a significant increase in value for freighter aircraft.
“On behalf of the entire GSTS and Alterna leadership teams, we would like to thank our world class team of pilots, firefighting professionals, mechanics and support personnel for the countless lives and properties they have saved. We would like to thank the IAB for their advice and encouragement as the GSTS team re-engineered the original SuperTanker system to meet federal guidelines,” Alterna said in a statement.