December 6, 2016 / 8:12 AM / 8 months ago

Statoil drops Airbus Super Puma helicopters for good

OSLO, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Oil firm Statoil will not resume using Airbus' Super Puma helicopters even if Norway's Civil Aviation Authority decides to lift the ban imposed after a fatal crash off Norway in April, the company said on Tuesday.

The Super Pumas, a workhorse of the offshore oil industry, were banned from commercial traffic in Norway and Britain following the accident that killed 13 oil workers flying from a Norwegian offshore oil platform operated by Statoil.

"We have no plans to use this helicopter ever again, even if Norwegian authorities decides to lift the ban", Statoil spokesman Morten Eek told Reuters.

The announcement comes after unions representing oil workers have expressed concern about the H225 helicopter and asked for a permanent ban.

"It doesn't matter what the Aviation Authority say. We can specify the helicopter type we want to use and we have already built up capacity with a different helicopter. The Sikorsky S-92," he added.

Norwegian investigators have said in preliminary findings that the crash was caused by a technical fault causing the Super Puma's main rotor blades to be separated from the aircraft. They are still investigating the crash.

In the meantime, a ban on the use of Super Pumas for commercial traffic by Norway's Civil Aviation Authority remains in place, as in Britain.

The European Aviation Safety Agency lifted its own flight in October ban, after Airbus contained a potential weakness inside the gearbox.

The helicopter that crashed in April was working for the Norwegian firm and operated by Canada-based group CHC Helicopter . (Reporting by Joachim Dagenborg, editing by Louise Heavens)

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