(QCOSTARICA) Through a donation by the government of China, Costa Rica now has two new airplanes for the transport of police for the fight against organized crime and drug trafficking, as well as ambulance and humanitarian aid.
The two planes, with the tail numbers MSP009 and MSP010, are now part of the Air Surveillance Service (Dirección del Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea – SVA) of the Ministry of Public Security (MSP).
The donated planes are valued at US$13.4 million dollars.
Each twin-engined (Canadian build motors) aircraft, manufactured by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and can fly more than five hours continuously, at a cruise speed of 234 kilometers per hour (130 knots), at a ceiling of 23,00 feet and can transport up to 17 people. They can also carry loads of up to 2,000 lbs and up to six stretchers and four doctors for emergency evac operations.
The aircraft are new, built this year.
The donation ceremony that took place on Monday at the Juan Santamaria airport, Base 2, was negotiated in January 2015 during an official visit to China by President Luis Guillermo Solis.
According to the director of Air Surveillance, Juan Luis Vargas, the donation by the government of Xi Jinping, also includes two containers of spare parts and three technicians who will be in Costa Rica for up to a year to provide support, bringing the total donation to US$18 million dollars.
“There are only two reasons why the aircraft are here. The first is the generosity of the government of China (…). And the decision of both governments to undertake a path of strategic connection as never before had.
“The second reason, perhaps the most important as far for Costa Rica, beyond the extraordinary generosity of the people and the People’s Government of China are women and men who make up the Air Surveillance Service … because they put their life at risk every time they fly with equipment not always updated, not always safe to do so to defend the country from the clutches of international crime and they do also to assist our brothers and sisters in health problems or emergencies,” justified President Solis.
According to the Casa Presidencial website, four pilots and six mechanics of the SVA spent six weeks in China in training, that included flight operations, maintenance and repair of the aircraft.
The Minister of Security, Gustavo Mata said, “The planes will bring benefits to citizens, as they have conditions to perform work that allow us to further strengthen all actions of police to ensure security, such as operating in different parts of the country.”