The American election in November has put the Philippine Mars trade deal on hold, according to Coulson Group CEO Wayne Coulson.
“The Philippine deal has fallen through with the Pensacola Naval Museum,” said Coulson.
“Because of the [U.S.] general election coming, and the concern that there’s going to be a change in government, all projects of this like and manner have been put on hold for at least a year.”
The deal was grounded, at least temporarily, despite it being in its final stages—including having Canadian government approval and having its landing gear upgraded.
Coulson said that while the Florida museum wasn’t out of the running, he wasn’t going to wait out the year if something else came along.
“From our perspective, because we’ve been working on this for five years and we’ve had enquires over time, we’re going to go and move the aircraft in whatever way makes sense,” Coulson said.
“At the end of the day, if it makes sense to work with [the naval museum] a year from now then we’ll do it but if there are other people out there that would like to acquire the aircraft then we’ll move it to them.”
Despite the delays in the Florida deal, Coulson said that the iconic waterbomber still had plenty of sale potential.
“There are people out there in the warbird world that have interest in the aircraft,” said Coulson, adding that the Hawaii Mars trip to the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016 in Wisonsin at the end of July, as well as the Hawaii Mar’s Ultimate Flying Experience, would likely drum up interest for the Philippine Mars. (The cockpit of which is shown here).
“Starting that Ultimate Flying Experience is great becaues people can come and fly the Hawaii and it’ll be pretty much the same as flying the other,” said Coulson.
“It’s been a good launch to the marketing plan for the Philippine Mars, the fact that they can come fly the Hawaii Mars and see what it’s like.”