Airbus CEO to prove Super Puma safety by flying offshore?

Airbus CEO Guillaume Fleury boarding GHS' H225 helicopter; Image: Airbus Helicopters (YouTube)

Another online petition regarding Airbus helicopters has caught the eye of the public after the company’s CEO Guillaume Faury arrived at the Helitech International 2017, Europe’s largest rotorcraft event, in the H225 Super Puma.

On its own, arrival in one of the choppers your company makes is not something to be frowned upon but arriving in the Super Puma helicopter involved in the fatal crash near Turøy last year might be.

Apparently, the Airbus CEO arrived at the event last week in such fashion to show that the Super Pumas were, in fact, safe helicopters.

According to Scottish media website, Daily Record, Faury was not willing to answer questions but did give the following statement: “It takes time to restore trust after these accidents. Our responsibility is to explain the safety measures that have been put in place.

“That’s why I’m very happy to be here at Helitech with the 225 to explain, to share and to guide people through the safety measures that have been put in place.”

The accident the Airbus CEO is referring to is from April 2016 when a CHC helicopter carrying 13 people from Statoil’s Gullfaks B platform crashed after its rotor loosened and detached mid-air. All thirteen people aboard the ill-fated aircraft died.

 

The petitions

During the summer, UK and Norwegian regulators removed restrictions that prevented operators from using the the H225LP and AS332L2 helicopters, the two models commonly known as Super Pumas. The restrictions were set in place following the fatal crash.

As a response to that came the petition on Change.org signed by over 27,000 people which asked for the two models to remain grounded for good.

Similarly, Fleury’s statement prompted another online petition on you.38degrees.org.uk which ‘dared’ the CEO to “undertake a flight under the same conditions as the offshore workforce, full survival suit and flight jacket.” The full gear request was probably made due to the fact that Fleury arrived in a suit and tie at the event. So far over 500 people have signed the petition.

 

We’re “actively considering” it

As reported by Energy Voice, Airbus replied to the petition and media attention surrounding the whole event by stating the company was “actively considering undergoing said flight.”

Airbus added that it would approach safety, industry, and helicopter stakeholders in the North Sea for feedback on how this exercise could be carried out in order to contribute to providing understanding of the H225 operational safety.

Since Faury, a licensed flight test engineer in his own right, has already done one demonstration of the Super Puma’s safety it would not be so strange to see him undertake another to try and return the faith operators lost in the two models.

Offshore Energy Today staff

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