Advertisement

Greece approves purchase of seven firefighting planes from Canada

FILE PHOTO: Wildfire in the region of Evros

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece on Thursday approved the purchase of seven firefighting aircraft from Canada to bolster its defences against wildfires, which have ravaged the country in recent years.

The deal passed by Parliament is to buy seven DHC-515 aircraft from the Canadian Commercial Corp for 361 million euros ($392 million).

The aircraft, purchased as part of a revamp of Greece's ageing fleet, will be delivered between 2027 and 2030, according to the agreement. The new aircraft can carry bigger quantities of water to dump on affected areas compared with the country's Canadair fleet, and fly for longer.

Two of the jets will be part of an EU RescEU reserve programme, which means that Greece can lend them to other EU countries in emergencies.

Summer wildfires have long been common in Greece, but rising temperatures and drought have made them more frequent and bigger and raised questions about the government's ability to stem the damage.

Fires last year destroyed tens of thousands of hectares of land in the northeast. The deadliest blaze on record killed 104 people outside Athens in 2018.

The purchase of the aircraft is part of a 2.1 billion-euro-scheme, mostly funded by the EU, under which Greece will receive firefighting equipment including drones, fire detectors, fire engines and meteorological stations.

($1 = 0.9217 euros)

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and Yannis Souliotis; Writing by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Edward McAllister and Leslie Adler)