The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has lifted the temporary suspension on the operation of the Bristow Helicopter Sirkorsky S-76 aircraft in the country. Julie King, the agency’s external communications manager, confirmed this in a statement issued on Saturday.
On February 4, NCAA suspended Bristow Helicopter’s aircraft type Sikorsky S-76C from further operations in Nigeria due to the successive mishaps of the aircraft type in the country.
However, the statement said the return of the Sikorsky S-76 aircraft to flight operations followed completion of the NCAA’s comprehensive operational audit.
It said the company, in addition, carried out an extensive return to service safety activities. The statement said Mike Imlach, vice-president, global operations of Bristow Group, thanked the NCAA for conducting a thorough review of its operations.
“We completed a detailed safety inspection of our S-76 series helicopters and test flights for all (16) S-76 aircraft in compliance with the NCAA,” he said.
“Our Group President and CEO, Jonathan Baliff, was a passenger in one of the approved non-revenue test flights to demonstrate his confidence in the safety of our S-76 fleet.”
The statement noted that Bristow had concluded a number of return to service safety activities with flight crews, engineers and other service employees, clients and key stakeholders.
“This is an additional precautionary measure prior to resuming the S-76 fleet to operation,” the statement said.
“These activities include maintenance assessment reviews, risk assessment, and pre-flight safety briefings with passengers to give them the opportunity to talk to the crew and ask questions.”
The statement said the company had also engaged a reputable independent third party aviation firm to conduct an additional review of its entire operations in Nigeria.
“Bristow proposes that the review be extended to other operators in Nigeria so that best practices can be shared to enhance safety across the industry,” it said.
“The company has commenced discussions with a number of operators regarding their participation. “Bristow is in full compliance with NCAA regulatory requirements and all Sikorsky directives for its fleet.
“The company maintains its aircraft to industry standards in accordance with special maintenance and monitoring programmes developed by the aircraft and engine manufacturers, that are fully approved by the NCAA.”
The statement quoted Tolu Olubajo, Bristow’s senior legal director Africa region, as saying the company would continue to cooperate fully with the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB).