Slovakia will purchase another Airbus

Pilots do not fly often enough and lose important habits, expert says.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo(Source: SME)

The Interior Ministry will buy a new plane for its squadron. It plans to pay nearly €35 million for a 15-year-old Airbus A3 19-CJ with the capacity of 90 seats and six medical beds. The plane should have the same engines as the Airbus the ministry has used since June.

The plane is expected to arrive in Slovakia in mid-2017, the TASR newswire reported.

Slovakia has already spent some €50 million to renew its squadron. Experts warn that state planes are not used much, however, and pilots do not have enough experience. The problem will be even more exacerbated with the purchase of a new Airbus, warned analyst Peter Švec.

“We will have big planes with which we do not fly much,” Švec told the Sme daily, adding that this in no case can create an environment with maximum safety that is currently secured in developed airlines.

Read also:Meet the Fokker: the first new plane arrives

The data of the Interior Ministry suggests that state planes flew altogether 787 hours last year, while this year it is slightly more due to the country’s presidency over the EU Council – 896 hours. The squadron can use 10 pilots, the ministry’s spokesperson Peter Lazarov told Sme.

Švec calls it dangerous, but it is hard to say how many hours the pilots should fly annually to be safe as every company or organisation sets the standards on its own, explained Róbert Rozenberg of the Technical University in Košice.

“International rules set the limit of maximum flight hours to no more than 900 hours per pilot per year,” Rozenberg told Sme.

The planned purchase has been criticised by the opposition who do not consider it necessary.

Analysts meanwhile criticised the fact that the Slovak squadron still lacks a smaller plane that could be used for shorter distances. Besides two Airbuses, Slovakia has only two Fokker planes with the capacity of 100 passengers each.

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