Britain’s biggest union, Unite, has today (Friday 3 June) condemned the actions of four senior offshore helicopter safety and aviation chiefs as “offensive and dangerous”.
Energy Voice reported yesterday (2 June) that - despite a pending investigation - Gilles Bruniaux, vice president of aviation safety for Airbus Helicopters; Gretchen Haskins, chief executive of HeliOffshore; Duncan Trapp, vice president of safety and quality for CHC Helicopters; and Les Linklater, Step Change in Safety executive director, all raised their hands to say they would fly on the H225 and consent to their children flying on the helicopters.
European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) directive said both H225 and AS332 (L2) variants should cease flying across Europe. The move followed the Accident Investigation Board Norway’s (AIBN) request as its preliminary report identified a “catastrophic failure” and signs of ‘fatigue’ in parts of the main gearbox which rendered early safety warnings “not effective”.
The findings were published just hours after the safety and helicopter chiefs, in a publicity stunt, backed the H225s. The EASA move comes on the back of the fatal 29 April crash of a H225 (LN-OJF) on the coast of Norway in which 13 passengers and crew died.
Wullie Wallace Unite regional industrial officer said:
“Unite’s offshore members are disgusted at a publicity stunt by four senior offshore experts in voting with a show of hands to say that they would fly in the Super Puma 225s and also voting to say that they would allow their children to fly in these helicopters. It is grossly offensive and dangerous for any individual to say the safety of offshore workers can be guaranteed.
“The actions of Les Linklater, executive director of Step Change in Safety, an organisation which states that its number one priority is the health and safety of offshore workers, voting to say he would fly in these helicopters beggars belief.
“Unite has been inundated with calls from angry offshore members criticising and questioning the integrity of the four involved with this stunt and challenging the role played by Step Change in this event. Unite believes that EASA has taken the right decision to ground the 225 fleet and will work with the enquiry to make helicopter flights a safer mode of travel for our members going back and forward to their work.”
For further information please contact Wullie Wallace on 01224 645271 or 07712 444952.
Notes to editors
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.