POLICE Scotland is to consider using fixed-wing aircraft alongside its current helicopter as part of a review of the future of air support.
The move to extend a £2.1million contract with Bond Air Services, which provides the police helicopter, will allow the option to be examined.
It comes three months after the Clutha crash in Glasgow, which killed 10 people, but the move is said not to be connected to the incident.
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The fixed-wing aircraft is being considered for use in remote areas. A report to the Scottish Police Authority says fixed-wing aircraft have lower flying charges and a longer range "which would appear to be suited for policing purposes in more remote areas".
But the report points out there are more restrictions for take-offs and landings.
A fixed-wing aircraft would cost approximately £2m and have an estimated lifespan of 30 years. A helicopter would cost £6.3m with a lifespan of 15-25 years.
SPA voted yesterday to seek authorisation from the Scottish Government to extend Bond's contract which expires in September.