Just when the offshore transportation industry appeared to have emerged from its most recent safety crisis, it is immediately plunged into the next.
The accident on the coast of Norway in late April could not have come at a worse time for all concerned.
With the price of a barrel of crude stubbornly stuck below $50, operators had already been dealing with a prolonged financial downturn that has seen helicopters idled and workforces reduced.
CHC, which operated the destroyed H225, had for several years been trying to stem its financial haemorrhaging. It is now in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
And Airbus Helicopters, which had worked so hard to convince pilots and offshore oil industry workers that its aircraft are safe to fly, is now back at square one.
Even if investigators conclude there was no fault on the manufacturer’s part, it is questionable if the workforce can be convinced.
A petition circulating online is calling for the H225’s permanent ban from UK operations. Although unlikely to come to pass, feelings are clearly running high.
Of course, while passengers may have little choice in the selection of helicopters, they could vote with their feet and refuse to get on board.
It is still too early to say what the investigation will conclude, but either way, both Airbus Helicopters and CHC have a great deal of damage to repair.
Source: Flight International