New Grand Caravans join Paraguayan Air Force

A further two brand-new Cessna 208B Grand Caravan EX light transport aircraft have entered service with the Fuerza Aérea Paraguaya (FAP, Paraguayan Air Force).

Paraguayan Cessna 208B Grand Caravan [Paraguayan Air Force]
One of the current Paraguayan Air Force/GATE Cessna 208B Grand Caravans, 0251, at Encarnación-Teniente Amin Ayub Gonzalez Airport on June 9 while transporting Sputnik V vaccines to the X Health Region (Alto Paraná) and the VII Health Region (Itapuá) in support of the Ministerio de Salud Paraguay (Paraguayan Health Ministry) programme to increase COVID-19 dose availability under the Enlarged Immunization Programme. FAP

The aircraft, already wearing full FAP colours and markings, left the US on their delivery flight to Paraguay on June 12. The flight comprised serials 0253 (c/n 208B5629, formerly N629TL) and 0254 (c/n 208B5632, formerly N632TL), which were both previously registered to manufacturer Textron Aviation Inc, but the US registrations were both cancelled on June 9 upon their transfer to Paraguayan ownership. The two aircraft arrived at Asunción-Silvio Pettirossi International Airport on June 19, completing their delivery flight.

In FAP service, the two Grand Caravan EXs will be operated by Grupo Aéreo de Transporte Especiales (GATE, Special Air Transport Group), which is based at Asunción. The unit already employs three Cessna 208Bs, the first of which was delivered on October 21, 2011; followed by the second on June 28, 2012; and the third on August 29, 2019. In recent times, these aircraft have regularly been used for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the nation.