Norway: Unions call for Super Puma helicopter ban

Norwegian offshore workers’ unions have called for the ban on all Super Puma helicopter flights on the Norwegian Continental Shelf to stay upheld.

While the flights are currently banned on all Airbus EC225 and AS332L2 helicopters in Norway after the crash of the CHC-owned helicopter in Turøy in April this year, there are fears that the ban might be lifted.

According to the unions SAFE, Industri Energi, Fellesforbundet, Lederne, Nito, Tekna, DSO, ElogIT og FLT, workers have lost confidence in Super Pumas and believe oil companies and the government must work on improved safety.

“Many oil workers fear that they will now be forced to fly with the same type of helicopter that crashed at Turøy April 29 this year, in which 13 people lost their lives, the flight ban is removed,” unions said.

To remind, thirteen oil workers, flying from Statoil’s platform offshore Norway, were killed in the accident that happened at Turøy, near Bergen.

Offshore Energy Today recently reported that Norway was being pressured by the surveillance authority ESA, in charge of making sure Norway’s agreements with the EU are being followed, to lift the ban.

The unions are calling for the Norwegian authorities not to succumb to pressure from the EU to lift the ban as EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency lifted the ban on October 7, a move the unions deem ‘incomprehensible.’

While EASA lifted the ban, the ban for the two Airbus-buit helicopter types is still in place in Norway and the UK.

Statoil, Norway’s largest oil company earlier in December said it will not use the Super Pumas ‘ever again,’ even if the Norwegian authorities decide to lift the ban. Statoil is now using the Sikorsky S-9 type helicopter instead.

In a message to Offshore Energy Today at the time, Guillaume Faury, Airbus Helicopters CEO, said: “I regret the timing of Statoil’s comments during a difficult time for the offshore community as a whole, at a time when we are working with the Norwegian Authorities and investigation team to address the specific concerns regarding the return to service of the H225 and AS332 L2 in the region.

“We also continue to work with customers worldwide to ensure the safe operation of the more than 120 helicopters of the H225 and AS332 L2 family flying today.”

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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