Airbus Looks to Return Super Puma to Service in the North Sea
Published in Oil Industry News on Monday, 30 January 2017
The Chief Executive of Airbus Helicopters has advised reporters that the Super Puma Helicopter has an important role to play in future North Sea Operations.
In a move that will cause controversy within the North Sea sector, Guillaume Faury CEO of Airbus Helicopters said the company was working closely with regulators to have the Super Puma fleet returned to service following a fatal crash in Norway that seen the rotor blades detach from the aircraft and kill all 13 on board.
Guillaume went on to explain that Airbus aimed to “rebuild confidence” in the Super Puma
The aircraft have been grounded in the North Sea since the incident. European Regulators did lift the ban across Europe, but the UK and Norwegian air regulators opted to keep the ban in place until the investigation into the accident concludes.
Mr Faury said the Norwegian Accident Investigation Board (AIBN) was expected to release it’s final report on the incident “in the next few months” and pledged to raise safety standards across the offshore helicopter industry, suggesting more sensors and monitoring could play a key role.
Mr Faury stated: “We don’t want to solve the problem and move forward… we want to grow out of this crisis much stronger and much better.
The return of the Super Puma would alleviate pressure on North Sea Helicopter operators, who recently seen almost all operations paralysed by an immediate safety check required on the sectors main workhorse the Sikorsky S92.
North Sea flights ground to a stand still when the entire S92 fleet of 30 helicopters were grounded and a week of urgent safety checks ensued to get the aircraft back in service.
The re-introduction of the Super Puma, would resolve that issue, but attitudes towards the aircraft have been drastically impacted by a spate of fatal accidents in the offshore industry and the offshore workforce are expected to oppose it’s return to service.
The announcement comes only a few weeks after Bristows were seen moving three Super Puma’s to storage in their Aberdeen base.
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