Super Puma Grounding to Remain in Place by UK and Norwegian CAA
Published in Oil Industry News on Friday, 7 October 2016
Earlier today EASA revoked the Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) that grounded the EC225 and AS 332 Super Puma aircraft throughout Europe. Lifting the EAD means that all European countries can now permit the aircraft to fly.
Typically in this situation where EASA is the higher power, when an EAD grounding a specific type or model of aircraft is lifted, individual aviation authorities will follow suit. However on this occasion UK and Norwegian Aviation authorities have went against EASA and held the orders grounding the aircraft in place at a National level.
The move is unusual for organisations that usually take a united front and shows just how much disagreement there is over Super Puma Safety throughout the industry.
The news will be welcomed by most offshore workers who have been vocal in their distrust of the aircrafts safety. Workers have frequently suggested an industry wide stance should be taken to refuse to fly if the Super Puma is returned to service.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) seemed to imply in a statement that EASA has been too quick to lift the order, pointing to the on-going investigation of the Norwegian crash as the reason for not lifting their own ban, the UK CAA gave the following statement:
“Following the release today by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) of proposals to allow the return to service of Airbus Helicopters’ Super Puma EC225LP (and AS332L2), the UK Civil Aviation Authority has confirmed that its existing restriction, prohibiting all commercial flying of this type by UK operators, is to remain in place.
The Super Puma helicopter accident in Norway on Friday 29 April is still under investigation by the Norwegian authorities and we remain in close contact with all offshore helicopter operators to continue to assess the situation.
We are united in our approach with the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority. Both agencies now await further information from the accident investigation before considering any future action.
The safety of those who travel on offshore helicopter flights is a key priority. That’s why in 2014 the Civil Aviation Authority launched a comprehensive review of offshore helicopter flying, resulting in significant changes in safety that were welcomed by everyone involved.
We will continue to work with the helicopter operators, the offshore industries, international regulators, unions and pilot representatives to enhance offshore safety standards still further”
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