No Helicopters to Fight Wildfires

27 June – Tirana News Digest. Albania Minister of Defense Niko Peleshi acknowledged on Monday that the country fleet of Cougar Helicopters were grounded and that the contracts for their regular maintenance were “a real headache”.

Peleshi was invited in the parliament by opposition MPs to answer to questions about country readiness to fight wildfires. According to him, air intervention against fires isn’t crucial. “We should fight the mentality that the wildfires can be put off by the armed forces using a helicopter,” he said.

An earlier investigation by BIRN found out that the 75 million worth fleet of helicopters was grounded since years while some of the best trained pilots had been fired or had quit the armed forces following clashes with the Ministry of Defense political staff over maintenance contracts. [Read more: Link in Albanian.]

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