Angolan oil and gas offshore transportation provider SonAir has become the first operator to resume passenger flights with the suspended Eurocopter EC225 fleet. Two of SonAir's 11 Super Pumas performed three flights from the operator's Luanda base to two offshore platforms.
"The resumption of EC225 rotations for the oil and gas sector marks a new step in the return-to-service status for the full EC225 fleet worldwide," says the manufacturer.
Overwater operations using the type were banned following a pair of North Sea ditchings in 2012. EASA certificated Eurocopter’s interim fix for the problem last month, enabling the grounded aircraft to return to service.
Nine of SonAir's EC225 fleet are dedicated to crew-change missions for offshore oil and gas platforms. The company also operates four Eurocopter AS332 L2s and three AS365 N3 helicopters.
Meanwhile, Eurocopter has delivered a fourth EC225 to Denmark's DanCopter. The 19-seat medium twin will be used for passenger transportation to offshore oil and gas platforms in the North Sea on behalf of its client, Maersk Oil.