The two Russian Kamov helicopters leased annually by the Republic of Cyprus, arrived at Paphos airport last night, while the Spanish Air Traktor firefighting planes are expected this afternoon, according to the Director of the Forest Department, Charalambos Alexandrou.
The Director said in statements to CNA that they have been working for more than a month to land both Russian helicopters and Spanish planes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Mr. Alexandrou explained, for the descent of the firefighting aircraft to the island, airspace had to be reopened and arrangements had to be made with the crews. Our goal, he continued, is to ensure the non-proliferation of the coronavirus and to comply as much as possible with the protocols of the Ministry of Health.
Mr. Alexandrou announced that yesterday, with the approval of the Minister of Health, Konstantinos Ioannou, they managed to deviate partially from the protocols.
He added that if the results of the tests performed on the crews are negative, then half of the staff will go to their workplace, which is Paphos Airport for the two Russian Kamov helicopters and Larnaca Airport for the two Spanish Air Traktor planes.
In addition, the Director of the Department of Forests said that the area is isolated and the crews will work to ensure that the operations are ready to put out fires. He also pointed out that at 19:00 at night, when the readiness and alert is completed, the crews will go back to the quarantine hotels.
Mr. Alexandrou noted that all this effort and the relevant arrangements were made because it is very important, as he said, in the firefighting operations, to assist the flying vehicles in view of the rise in temperature.
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