The Police and Border Guard shares three helicopters with the Rescue Board. Because all three were undergoing maintenance at the same time, the Estonian authorities were without a single helicopter ready for operation on Tuesday and Wednesday.
According to daily Postimees, the Police and Border Guard (PPA) are saying that a fourth aircraft would solve the problem of the constant shortage and operational difficulties between them and the Rescue Board.
There have been several occasions where all three aircraft were grounded at the same time. According to PPA’s Priit Pärkna, over the last six years there have been “fewer than 100 hours” without an operational helicopter ready for action.
Still, the situation was difficult, even if one helicopter was kept operational at all times, as the demand for the use of the aircraft among the two authorities was significantly greater than what was possible with such a set-up.
An additional helicopter would help, but also be a sizeable budget item—the aircraft would cost somewhere around €22 million to buy, and another €800,000 annually to pay the people operating and maintaining it.
Editor: Dario Cavegn