The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA) on Thursday, suspended the operation of the Bristow Helicopters Limited’s Sikorsky S-76C++ type until full scale audit is conducted on them.
Briefing newsmen in Lagos, Muhtar Usman, director general of the NCAA, said the ‘suspension will enable the Authority carry out a full scale audit on its operations with particular emphasis on its Sikorsky S-76C++ type’.
The aircraft type which was involved in the crash of yesterday was also involved in another in Lagos on August 12th 2015.
“These decisions are without prejudice to the investigations being conducted by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB). As a matter of fact, it will serve to assist in the entire process. The Authority will fully support AIB in the investigation.
“Therefore, the Regulatory Authority views with utmost seriousness the successive mishaps of Bristow Helicopters’ operating aircraft SikorskyS-76C++ on the coastal waters of Lagos. 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”, he said.
He explained that the suspension of operations for the impending wholesale audit is not a vote of no confidence on the airline, adding that 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. If you may recall, in August, 2015, a Bristow Helicopter operated Sikorsky S-76 series crashed around Oworonshoki axis in Lagos.
“What this means is that yesterday’s incident is occurring a little over six months after the preceding one. Therefore as a responsible Regulatory Authority, it is important to stem this rapidity of occurrence and ensure the airline carry out safe operations”, he added.
The Sikorsky S-76 aircraft 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.
“Once again let me reiterate that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), will continue to ensure our airline operators continue to carry out safe and secure operations”, Usman assured.