Statoil will not resume using Airbus' Super Puma helicopters even if Norway's Civil Aviation Authority decides to lift the ban imposed after a fatal crash off Norway in April.
Statoil will stop using the H225 Super Puma helicopter as part of its fleet following a fatal crash in April.
“We have no plans for using the H225 model in our fleet service in the future,” Statoil representative Morten Eek told Rigzone.
Following Statoil’s announcement, Airbus Helicopters CEO Guillaume Faury said he took note of the company’s safety concerns.
“Airbus Helicopters takes note of Statoil's safety concerns regarding helicopter offshore operations. 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,” Faury said.
“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,” he added.
The model was grounded since June and still remains so by UK and Norwegian authorities. On Apr. 29 an EC225 (the previous name for the H225 helicopter) crashed while carrying a Statoil crew from the Gullfaks B oil platform to the Bergen airport on the West Coast of Norway. All 13 passengers on board were killed in the incident.
Norwegian investigators have said in preliminary findings that the crash was caused by a technical fault causing the Super Puma's main rotor blades to be separated from the aircraft, Reuters reported.
The crash followed another Super Puma incident in August 2013, which resulted in the worldwide suspension of the AS332-L2 Super Puma helicopter model. The North Sea crash left four people dead.
After the release of an investigation into the fatal helicopter crash, Statoil vowed to improve helicopter safety.
The investigation concluded that Statoil’s helicopter safety work on the NCS is good, but stressed that the industry’s efficiency improvement efforts and increased focus on costs must not compromise safety. Statoil also emphasized that a possible introduction in Norway of common European safety requirements could change the ‘risk picture’ associated with helicopter operations.
“Our clear ambition is to maintain our leading role in further developing and enhancing the existing helicopter safety standard,” Statoil Chief Operating Officer Anders Opedal said at the time.
Since the suspension of the H225 Super Puma, Statoil has replaced the model with Sikorsky S-92s helicopters.
“S-92 is now the model in service for our offshore operations and SAR service on the Norwegian Continental Shelf,” Eek said.
Reuters contributed to this article
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