UK civil aviation regulators have played down the prospect of a swift return to flight for the Airbus Helicopters H225.

The heavy twin, and related AS332 L2, remains grounded in the UK and Norway in the wake of a fatal crash of an H225 on the Norwegian coast in April 2016.

However, Airbus Group chief executive Tom Enders recently said he was hopeful that the ban could be lifted "any time soon".

This sparked speculation that a regulatory change was imminent, despite the fact that Norwegian investigators have been unable to find a root cause for the crash.

But the UK Civil Aviation Authority says it has "no immediate plans to lift the restriction" which will "remain in place for the foreseeable future".

It continues to liaise closely with its Norwegian counterpart, it adds, as well as the three H225 operators in Aberdeen: Babcock Mission Critical Services, Bristow Helicopters and CHC Helicopter.

Indeed, operator and passenger fears may prove a more daunting obstacle. "Even if we did lift [the restriction] there is still work to be done in terms of the operators agreeing to use them," the CAA says. "Until the final [accident] report is out there is not a lot to gain from speculating."

As well his comments on the timing of any easing of the ban, Enders indicated the company's irritation with Norway and the UK for breaking ranks with the European Aviation Safety Agency, which approved the Super Puma's return to commercial flights last October.

However, the CAA remains unbowed, saying: "[The ban] will stay in place until we are absolutely sure that the type is safe for that operation. Safety always has to take priority and we are not going to take any chances."

Thirteen passengers and crew died in the 29 April accident, which was caused by the failure of a key gearbox component due to fatigue cracking, which led to the separation of the main rotor at 2,000ft.