The first of some 80 EC225 helicopters subject to a series of airworthiness directives to address main gearbox lubrication issues will start resuming flight operations by the end of July, Eurocopter confirmed.
Monday’s announcement followed decisions on July 10 by both the European Aviation Safety Agency EASA and the UK Civil Aviation Authority to approve prevention and detection measures developed by Eurocopter to remedy problems that were found to be the cause of two controlled ditchings in the North Sea last year. On July 19, aviation authorities in Norway also approved the remedial action, clearing the way for the twin-engine rotorcraft to resume operations.
An estimated 80 EC225s were taken out of service in North Sea offshore oil and gas transport operations following the gearbox failures.
“I am convinced that the designed and approved measures are the right ones, allowing a safe return to service of the entire fleet,” said Eurocopter president and CEO Guillaume Faury. In the meantime, Eurocopter is supporting helicopter operators as they modify the aircraft in accordance with EASA instructions.