We are aware of the Airworthiness Directive issued today, 7th October 2016, by the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) relating to the EC225 LP and AS332 L2 aircraft types.
While any progress in understanding how we can prevent further accidents is welcome, EASA, as the European regulator, is just one part of an integrated safety system which operates to ensure the safety of offshore helicopter operations. Today’s directive describes the replacement of specific parts and additional inspection checks and with which operators must comply but does not mean an immediate return to service.
It is our understanding that the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s existing restriction, prohibiting all commercial flying by UK operators, is to remain in place. Recent feedback from the offshore workforce has once again highlighted that helicopter safety is the number one concern and accordingly Step Change in Safety welcomes this robust stance and their alignment with the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority.
The Norwegian Super Puma helicopter accident on Friday 29 April 2016 is still under investigation by the Norwegian authorities and all stakeholders remain in close contact and continue to assess the situation. We now must wait for further information from the accident investigation before considering the next steps.
With their customers, helicopter operators continue to determine the implications for search-and-rescue and oil-and-gas operations – with safety of their pilots and passengers their first consideration at all times. At each step, for every organisation involved in this process, the safety of flight operations comes first.
The safety of those who travel on offshore helicopter flights is a key priority. Since its formation in 2014 the Offshore Helicopter Safety Action Group (OHSAG) has worked closely with the industry’s Helicopter Safety Steering Group (HSSG), resulting in many safety improvements that were welcomed by everyone involved.
The organisation of helicopter safety efforts in the UKCS can appear complicated, however ensuring safe flight operations remains our common objective focusing on accident prevention as well as mitigation. To that end we are now working to integrate these groups further to bring a clear focus on the UKCS aviation safety strategy. Through a proposal to consolidate the strategic leadership activities of OHSAG and HSSG, we will bring further enhancement to the organisation of the helicopter safety work in the UKCS.
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