Norway is reportedly being pressured to lift a flight suspension on two types of Super Puma helicopters that had been temporarily banned after a fatal incident of an EC225 LP helicopter in Norway’s Turøy in April 2016.
Norwegian commercial television station TV2 has revealed that Norway is being forced by the surveillance authority ESA, in charge of making sure Norway’s agreements with the EU are being followed, to cancel the flight ban for Super Puma helicopters in line with the rest of the EU.
In Norway, two types of Super Puma helicopters, EC225 and AS332L2, were grounded for safety reasons in June following the crash of the CHC-operated Super Puma helicopter near Bergen as it was returning to land from a Statoil offshore platform. European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) lifted the ban in October but the ban remained in place in Norway and UK.
Norwegian oil workers’ union Industri Energi said on Monday that lifting the ban in Norway is “completely unacceptable.”
Industri Energi’s helicopter expert Henrik Fjeldsbø said the union demands the ban to remain in place until conclusions by the Accident Investigation Board Norway’s (AIBN) are complete.
The union further stated that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) believes that necessary measures were implemented after Turøy accident and the grounding of Super Puma helicopters EC225 and AS332L2 can be repealed.
However, Industri Energi emphasized it cannot accept this and further demanded the ban to be maintained until AIBN reveals its conclusions and the underlying cause of the fatigue crack on the helicopter is known.
Fjeldsbø also added the union has very little confidence in how EASA acted in the matter and that this case shows why it is important to still have national control of offshore helicopter operations.
Offshore Energy Today Staff