Super puma manufacturer Airbus Helicopters has told Rigzone that it welcomes any open and informed discussion on the safety of offshore helicopters, following a debate in Scottish parliament over the security of super puma aircraft operating in the North Sea.
Following a fatal super puma helicopter accident offshore Norway in April 2016, operating restrictions were imposed by UK and Norwegian aviation authorities on H225LP and AS332L2 super puma aircraft. In July, the UK and Norwegian aviation authorities set out plans to lift these restrictions.
“This is clearly a topic of great importance to MSPs [members of Scottish parliament],” an Airbus Helicopters spokesperson said.
“Airbus Helicopters understands the importance of restoring confidence in the aircraft ahead of any return to service. We are now at the beginning of a process of informing the workforce and wider community of the updates to the aircraft,” the spokesperson added.
During the debate, which took place on October 24, Lewis Macdonald MSP remarked that super puma helicopters “do not feel safe to many of those who may be asked to step on board”.
Fellow MSP Alexander Burnett said “there is no doubt that super puma helicopters have brought concerns for both oil companies and workers alike”.
After plans were announced to lift the ban on super puma H225LP and AS332 L2 helicopters, UK union Unite set up a petition to stop all commercial flights from the aircraft.
Unite’s officer for the North Sea, Tommy Campbell, told Rigzone that the union would not stop its campaign “until it’s certain that there will be not be a comeback for the super puma”.
“The Scottish parliament debate has put the issue back on the political agenda…We’re going to see the Scottish transport minister soon to convince him that the North Sea should remain Puma free and that his government has to support the workers on that”.