Union criticises helicopter safety
Posted Fri, 01 Jun 2012
Neither pilots or passengers are entirely convinced about the safety of North Sea helicopters, according to union officers.
The British Airline Pilots' Association (Balpa) made their feelings clear after oil company Shell decided against entering into a contract with Bond Offshore Helicopters. The aviation firm has suffered three major safety incidents in three years.
On 10 May all passengers and crew members had to be rescued when one of Bond's Super Puma helicopters fell into the North Sea. Under a month earlier the same helicopter had suffered an engine malfunction.
The company temporarily suspended all its helicopter journeys before an Air Accidents Investigation Branch investigation found that the gearbox shaft had broken.
Also, on 1 April 2009, a Super Puma crashed into the sea after a gearbox failure, resulting in the deaths of 16 people who were being taken to Aberdeen. 18 people had previously survived on another North Sea crash in February 2009.
According to BBC Scotland, Shell did not sign the contract because it did not receive satisfactory assurances from Bond about its safety.
General secretary of Balpa, Jim McAuslan, said: "The award of contracts should not involve commercial decision-makers in having to weigh up the relative safety merits of competing operators."
Copyright Press Association 2012