…commence full audit on airline’s operationsFollowing what it termed as successive mishaps of Bristow Helicopters operating aircraft SikorskyS-76C++ , the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended the operation of the operational equipment (helicopter) Sikorsky S-76C++ type which the airline uses till further notice.
Director General of NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, who read the suspension notice said that the suspension will enable the authority carry out a full scale audit on Bristow’s operations with particular emphasis on its Sikorsky S-76C++ type.
Usman, who responded to questions from reporters after issuing the suspension said that the decision Bristow Helicopters’ controlled ditching yesterday, February 3, 2016, stating that the regulatory body had weighed all the variables and considered it expedient to suspend the airline operations expressing that it was a global standard practice.
“The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has therefore decided to suspend the operation of the Bristow Helicopters Limited’s Sikorsky S-76C++ type till further notice. This suspension will enable the authority carry out a full scale audit on its operations with particular emphasis on its Sikorsky S-76C++ type.” he said
The Sikorsky S-76 aircraft, according to him is an American medium – size commercial utility helicopter manufactured by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation.
The S-76 features twin turbo shaft engines; four-bladed main and tail rotors. It has a retractable landing gear.
NCAA recalled that August 12, 2015, a Bristow Helicopter operated Sikorsky S-76 series crashed around Oworonshoki axis in Lagos, adding what this means is that yesterday’s incident is occurring a little over six months after the preceding one.
He pointed out that as a responsible regulatory authority, it was important to stem this rapidity of occurrence and ensure the airline carry out safe operations, adding that the suspension was not to pass a vote of no confidence in the embattled helicopter giant.
He said, “I must also mention that this suspension of operations for the impending wholesale audit is not a vote of no confidence on the airline. It is to ascertain the adequacy and propriety of the operating aircraft type. This is not new in the industry; it is one of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) all over the world.”
The NCAA further said that the decisions were without prejudice to the investigations being conducted by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), adding that it would serve to assist in the entire process as the regulators will fully support AIB in the investigation