The NCAA announced the decision in a statement signed by its External Communications Manager, Julie King, which was obtained by our source.
NAN reports that NCAA had on February 4, suspended Bristow Helicopter’s aircraft type Sikorsky S-76C from further operations in Nigeria due to the successive crashes 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 Bristow Group Vice President, Global Operations, Mr. Mike Imlach, 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.
“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,” it quoted Imlach as saying.
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.
“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,” it said.
The statement added that the company had also engaged a reputable independent third party aviation firm to conduct an additional review of its entire operations in Nigeria.
It said, “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.
“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 the Senior Legal Director Africa Region, Bristow, Mr. Tolu Olubajo, as saying that the company would continue to cooperate fully with the Accident Investigation Bureau.
“We thank our clients for their unwavering support during this time and remain steadfast in our commitment to continuing to honour our contractual obligations with them.
“Bristow has been committed to Nigeria for nearly 50 years and we will continue to invest in support for our customers and the country.
“Safety remains our number one core value and our Target Zero culture governs every decision by the company,” Olubajo was quoted as saying.