Helicopter safety vs profit?

EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) indicated on 7th October that Super Puma EC-225 may be allowed to return to service under certain conditions. Both the Civil Aviation Authorities of UK and Norway are maintaining their ban on use of EC-225 until the investigation of the accident outside Bergen on 29th April 2016 has been finalised and the causes are found.

The lifting of the ban by EASA will probably not increase the workforce’s confidence in EASA. The Norwegian workforce was very critical of EASA in the spring of 2016, due their extended delay to ban operations with Super Puma helicopters (EC-225 & L2) after the accident in late April.

It is not unlikely that EASA may be accused of giving in to commercial pressures, when they appear to allow Super Puma operation to be resumed, in spite of not knowing the findings of the investigation.

This action taken by EASA will probably also affect negatively on the willingness by several parties to accept that Norway shall adopt a new common European helicopter safety directive. Accepting this directive may in theory give the Norwegian CAA less influence over helicopter operations in the Norwegian sector, if helicopter operators choose under such directive to move their operations to other european countries, with AOC (Air Operator Certificate) issued by CAA in that country.

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