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BP will not use Super Pumas until crash probe completed

The helicopter has been grounded since 13 people died after a crash over Norway.

Super Puma: Ban lifted by European Aviation Safety Agency in October (file pic).
Super Puma: Ban lifted by European Aviation Safety Agency in October (file pic). CHC

BP has confirmed it will not reintroduce Super Puma Helicopters until the completion of an investigation into last year's fatal crash.

The helicopters have been grounded since 13 people, including oil worker Iain Stuart from Aberdeenshire, died in a crash over Norway in April 2016 but have recently been cleared to return to the sky.

The incident off the island of Turoy was the third fatal crash in the North Sea involving a Super Puma since 2009.

The Super Puma ban was lifted by the European Aviation Safety Agency in October but the helicopters were kept grounded in the UK and Norway.

Last week, plans were outlined by the UK Civil Authority (CAA) and Norwegian authorities to allow them to return to service if new safety conditions are met.

A survey of 2500 offshore workers found nine out of ten were against their return and 65% said they would refuse to fly in one.

https://stv.tv/news/north/1393069-super-puma-helicopters-set-for-return-to-north-sea/ | default

BP has now said it will wait for the findings of the AIBN and Airbus investigation before using Super Puma 255 and L2 helicopters again.

John McColl, head of airworthiness at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), said the decision to reinstate the helicopter had not been taken lightly and the safety of those travelling on offshore helicopter flights is a "key priority".

He said: "It has only been made after receiving extensive information from the Norwegian accident investigators and being satisfied with the subsequent changes introduced by Airbus Helicopters through detailed assessment and analysis.

"We would not have made this decision unless we were convinced that the changes to the helicopters and their maintenance restore the required airworthiness standards."

The CAA have also said no flights will take place until a plan of checks, modifications and inspections has been undertaken.

These will include a change in the design that will remove components susceptible to premature deterioration, more frequent inspections and an improved maintenance inspection method that will detect any deterioration at an early stage.

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