By Inti Landauro
PARIS–Lutz Bertling, the chief executive of Eurocopter, the world’s largest helicopter manufacturer, expects its EC225 aircraft, which suffered two incidents in the North Sea last year, will be authorized to fly again by April.
The EC225, which is widely used to fly crews and equipment to and from oil rigs all over the world, was grounded in late 2012 in the U.K. and Norway after two problems with the gearbox forced aircraft to ditch. In both cases the helicopters landed on the water safely as flotation devices activated.
The company is performing a series of tests to prepare measures to prevent any risk and expects the regulators will lift the grounding order. “Based on the models, I have no doubt the helicopters will all be back flying in April, it might even be in March,” he said.
The company isn’t only working to convince the regulators that the aircraft are safe, but also to convince operators and passengers, Mr. Bertling said.
The incidents had a negative effect on the reputation of the helicopters, but it had “no significant impact on the position of the EC225 on the market,” Mr. Bertling said.
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