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Statoil ditches Super Puma helicopters after deadly crash

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Statoil ditches Super Puma helicopters after deadly crash
The scene of April's fatal helicopter crash. Photo: Marit Hommedal / NTB scanpix
13:41 CET+01:00
Norwegian oil group Statoil said on Tuesday it will not use Airbus' Super Puma helicopters even after European authorities lifted a flight ban imposed following a deadly accident in April in Norway.
"We have no plans of using this type of helicopter again," company spokesman Morten Eek told AFP, confirming reports in the Norwegian newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad.
 
In a further blow to the French aircraft manufacturer, Norwegian and British authorities maintained a ban on commercial flights of the modern (EC225LP or H225) and older (AS332L2) versions of the aircraft.
 
In October, Poland pulled out of negotiations on a multi-billion dollar deal with Airbus Helicopters, putting a heavy strain on the company, which last month announced it would cut 582 jobs.
 
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in October lifted the temporary flight ban slapped on the Super Puma in June.
 
"But regardless of the Norwegian ban, our plan is to not use H225," Eek said.
 
The company now uses S-92 helicopters from Sikorsky, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin.
 
On April 29, a Super Puma operating on behalf of Statoil lost its main rotor returning from a North Sea oil platform, killing 13 passengers.
 
According to the provisional findings of the Norwegian Accident Investigation Agency, the tragedy was most likely caused by fatigue failure of parts of the main transmission gearbox, which allows the transmission of power from the motors to the main rotor.
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