Air Tanker HQ Moving From Calif. to Wyoming

May 16, 2013
Officials say the move won't affect the operations as wildfire season heats up.

May 16--VICTORVILLE -- An air carrier group with two firefighting air tankers originally based at Southern California Logistics Airport is moving its headquarters to Casper, Wyo.

Rick Hatton, president of 10 Tanker Air Carrier, said Wednesday that the company is seeking a more centralized location to suit its new federal contract. He stressed that the company has had a good relationship with the Victorville airport for the past decade.

"We're going to relocate our corporate headquarters to Casper, Wyoming, but that won't affect our operations," Hatton said.

The U.S. Forest Service awarded an exclusive-use contract on May 6 to 10 Tanker Air Carrier and five other air tankers around the country to provide wildfire suppression services.

"Cal Fire liked us being here, and now our federal contract makes us more of a national asset," Hatton said. "We won't change our relationship with Cal Fire -- it's a relationship of contractor and agency that will keep us just as available to be called upon."

Having contracts with both federal and state agencies means the two large wildfire-fighting air tankers can be called to respond anywhere in the country, Hatton said.

"Where our headquarters is located is irrelevant to our mission," he said. "Now there are over 30 places we can operate from to conduct our firefighting missions."

Hatton said Victorville will continue to be one of the company's places of operation.

Sixteen employees will relocate to the Casper/Natrona County airport as early as June, the Associated Press reported.

The DC-10s are converted passenger aircraft that have been equipped to hold 100,000 pounds of fire retardant and water. Hatton says that is about four times the capacity of the next largest air tanker.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Jim E. Winburn can be reached at [email protected] or at 760-955-5368.

Copyright 2013 - Daily Press, Victorville, Calif.

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