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Sat, 13 Dec, 2014 03:35:16 AM
FTimes-Xinhua Report, Dec 13

Increased Russian air force activities in the Baltic Sea area seem to be a trouble for the finance of the Finnish Air Force, which still claimed that the problem will not hamper any required operations.

     The annual budgeted flight hours of Finnish Air Force F-18 Hornets have been at around eight thousand hours per year in recent years, the Information Director of the Finnish Air Force Joni Malkamaki told Xinhua on Friday.

     Malkamaki said the Air Force has not published any figures of hours accumulated this year due to the additional need for identification flights. "In 2015 the budgeted hours will increase close to nine thousand," Malkamaki said.

     Even though they are military officers, the working hours of Air Force pilots in Finland have to comply with the general legislation regarding working hours and overtime pay. Overtime can cause additional spending.

    

As part of a cutback of defence spending decided in 2012, Finnish Air Force concentrated its Hornets to bases in Northern and Eastern Finland.

     During the past summer, the Air Force began using temporary locations in the South to be able to reach the maritime border quickly and F-18 Hornets were based also at the Helsinki-Vantaa commercial airport.

     "We can use any major airport in Finland as a base," Malkamaki said.

     Malkamaki insisted that the financial constraints will not hamper any required operations. "We take off when necessary. Possible need for additional financing will be dealt with later."

     The impact of additional operations of the Air Force was given publicity by the chairman of the parliamentary defence committee Jussi Niinisto earlier this week.

     The committee heard the Commander of the Air Force Kim Jaameri. Talking to media after the meeting, Jaameri said no military threat or provocations against Finland have taken place.

     He said the Russians were carrying out maneuvres but also wanted to show presence. 

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