Airbus Helicopters "really believes" in the Super Puma and remains convinced "the product will have a future," despite an accident investigation that has highlighted concerns about its main gearbox, the Reuters news agency reported.
A Reuters correspondent asked Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury about the Super Puma's future in the wake of a probe into the cause of the April 29 crash of a CHC Helikopter EC225 near Bergen, Norway, that killed the 11 passengers and two pilots on board.
The main rotor separated from the aircraft prior to the crash and the Norway-led investigation is focused on the role a main gearbox fatigue failure played in the crash.
"Of course the product will have a future,” Faury responded Wednesday, according to the news agency. “We really believe in this product."
Faury described the accident as a shock for the company, Reuters said, but said Airbus has no plans to scrap the Super Puma family because of the crash.
Civil aviation authorities around the world have prohibited flights of Super Puma aircraft based on the findings of Norway’s Accident Investigation Board’s probe. In a June 28 update, that board said its findings to that point did not suggest other scenarios explained the accident sequence, such as failure of a main gearbox suspension bar attachment or the gearbox’s conical housing. It added that it considered it unlikely that the observed fatigue failure in a second-stage planet gear was “as a consequence of a structural break-up of another component."
So far, the board has ruled out human error or maintenance discrepancies as causes of the crash. Faury said, "At the moment, we don't know if this is design, production, maintenance or a combination of the three," according to Reuters. “We need to understand, to go to the bottom of the root cause and then solve the problem."