French helicopter lobby Union Française de l’Hélicoptère (UFH) is concerned that increasingly stricter operational rules are preventing operators from running a sound business and have begun snuffing out the smallest ones.
“We are talking about the survival of the French helicopter operator industry,” said UFH president Dominique Orbec.
The UFH is warning that ordinary citizens could face serious consequences, if the industry becomes too weak to render all the services it currently provides. “If crop-dusting specialists continue to disappear, what will the authorities do if they want to counter an invasion of processionary caterpillars?” asked SAF Hélicoptères president Christophe Rosset.
SAF is known mainly for its mountain-flying activities, for which the EASA could require it to use twin-engine helicopters in the near future. According to the UFH, this would simply be uneconomical.
Companies such as SAF again proved their worth when their helicopters recently helped to inspect and repair power lines in a matter of hours after extensive power outages caused by heavy snow.