Sixteen grounded Super Pumas to be 'back in air by the summer'

About 20 helicopters are still stuck on the tarmac after two EC225s ditched in the North Sea last year.

Ditched Super Puma EC225 helicopter in North Sea
RNLI

Aviation chiefs have vowed to alleviate severe transportation problems in the oil and gas industry by getting over a dozen grounded helicopters back in the air by summer.

About 20 helicopters are still stuck on the tarmac after a Super Puma EC225 ditched in the North Sea on October 22, forcing bosses to pull the choppers from service.

But now, Bristow Group, who own 16 of the flawed aircraft, reckon manufacturer Eurocopter have found a solution to the cracked gearboxes that forced two choppers to ditch in May and October last year.

Bill Chiles, chief executive of Bristow Group, said he expects their 16 EC225s to be back in service by "spring or early summer".

Aviation writer Jim Ferguson said the news would be welcomed by the oil and gas industry which has struggled to cope with the demand of transporting workers since the grounding.

He said: "It has been a bit difficult at times - with a great deal of hard work by the ops staffs. Luckily in winter things are a bit quieter."

French firm Eurocopter have been working on the gearboxes used in the Super Pumas since the last one ditched in October and a temporary solution is close to being found.

Mr Chiles admitted however that a permanent fix could take up to a year-and-a-half to implement, but several older aircraft will be brought out of retirement to help alleviate any capacity problems.

In November Bristow will also start using new helicopters bought from Eurocopter's rival Sikorsky. The firm will take delivery of ten S92s after signing a deal with Sikorsky believed to be worth £173m.

A spokesman for Eurocopter admitted they were working to a time-scale similar to the one Mr Chiles revealed.

He said: "We do not want to comment on Bristow's position, except to say that we share Mr Chiles' confidence regarding an interim solution which we are working on.

"As the rests are ongoing it is too early to provide a fixed timeline on confirming the root cause of the incidents."

Your report: If you have information on this or any other story, please let us know. You can send information, pictures to web@stv.tv or call us on 01224 848918.

Feedback: We want your feedback on our site. If you've got questions, spotted an inaccuracy or just want to share some ideas about our news service, please email us on web@stv.tv.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.