Cyprus Mail

Firefighting fleet to be reinforced with four new aircraft

Two Air Tractor aircraft leased by the Republic are expected to arrive from Latin America in the next day or so.

The AirTractors will be incorporated into the current force and will be operationally ready by next Friday, a report in daily Phileleftheros said.

In addition, two Russian firefighting Kamov helicopters are expected to arrive in Cyprus within a week.

The Russian Kamovs will be provided by a Spanish company, the cheapest choice that resulted out of a public tender procedure and is pending approval from the relevant authorities.

The company providing the Kamovs represents Spanish interests thus overcoming the obstacle of EU sanctions against Russia, according to Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis. The offer for the Kamovs also includes maintenance for two years.

With the addition of the above, the Republic’s fleet will number 13 aircraft as was the original goal: six Air Tractor’s, two police helicopters, one National Guard helicopter, two helicopters from the British Bases and two Kamovs.

In the meantime, the government aims at establishing permanent cooperation with Israel over forest fire management, an issue that will be part of the agenda at an upcoming meeting with the Israeli environment minister in early July.

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