Colorado Springs

City contract reveals costs of using Global Supertanker

COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. - A copy of the contract obtained by KRDO Newschannel 13 details exactly how much the City of Colorado Springs will pay the owners of the Global Supertanker to use the giant firefighting jet.

The normal hourly fee for using the supertanker, including fuel, is $23,500, and the clock runs from the time the converted 747 leaves the hangar until it returns.

The "Call When Needed" contract doesn't guarantee the city exclusive use of the jet.

If the city wants exclusive use of the Supertanker, the cost is $38,900 dollars per day, with up to 12 hours of use included per day.

There is no additional charge if normal hydrant water is used to fight fires, but if fire retardant is requested, that will be an extra cost to the City.

The use of a lead plane to pinpoint drop locations ahead of the Supertanker is an extra fee as well.

The contract extends from August 1, 2017 until July 31, 2018, with an option for the City to renew the annual contract up to four times.

The agreement can also be terminated by the City at any time, with or without reason.

The Global Supertanker, which signed a similar contract with Douglas County in May and is currently negotiating contracts with the US Forest Service and others, can dump up to 20,000 gallons of water or retardant on a single flight, far more than any other firefightering aircraft.

However, it also costs significantly more than other aircrafts to use.

According to, the hourly rate for DC-10 exclusive availablility in 2015 was $35,000 per day, with hourly flight rates costing another $13,500 per hour.

A smaller BAe-146, similar to the size of a military C-130, costs $29,000 per day for exclusive availability and another $8,000 per flight hour.

Click here to see the costs of additional aircraft, according to

Click here to see a similar 2012 comparison of aircrafts from the National Interagency Fire Center.

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