A tender for the leasing of two firefighting helicopters has been scrapped, after none of the bidders met the standards, local media reported on Thursday.

Citing a source within the Department of Forests, Politis newspaper said the tender was cancelled after it turned out that the interested companies did not meet the technical criteria set.

A new tender – again for leasing two helicopters – would be relaunched from scratch in the coming days, the source said.

The development comes just as searing heat grips the island, with fires almost a daily occurrence.

Right now, the state has at its disposal two Jordanian helicopters, one helicopter of the police, two of the National Guard, and two of the British bases -for a total of seven in the best-case scenario.

As for firefighting airplanes, there is only one – with the Department of Forests.

According to Politis, four firefighting planes leased by the government from a Spanish company are expected to be back on the island within the month.

Since 2019, the Department of Forests took charge of contracts for leasing firefighting helicopters; previously the task had fallen to the interior ministry.

Last month authorities told the Cyprus Mail that, under a tender for leasing airborne firefighting means, Cyprus stood to gain four airplanes and two helicopters.

Andreas Christou, acting director of the Department of Forests, told us at the time that in addition to the planned leases, the government intended to purchase up to ten firefighting aircraft over a five-year span.

In early April, during a discussion in parliament, officials revealed that Cyprus had no firefighting aircraft available at the time. A forestry department official told stunned MPs that the eight aircraft under the Department of Forests were still being repaired.