A Bond director last night moved to reassure offshore workers and North Sea oil and gas firms that safety was the operator’s “primary and first priority”.
Director of commercial services, Ashley Roy, said at a press conference in Aberdeen last night that the helicopter operator carried out maintenance checks on its aircraft “every single day” and insisted flying on a Bond helicopter was a safe way to travel.
Referring to two previous Bond helicopter incidents in the North Sea in 2009 – including one in which all 16 people on the aircraft died – Mr Roy said: “This is the third incident in three years, however thousands of hours are flown offshore in helicopters every year.
“Bond itself conducts over 40,000 flying hours per annum.”
When asked what he would say to offshore workers who may fly to North Sea installations today, he said: “Our assurance is that safety is our primary and first priority.” Mr Roy said the procedure carried out by the two pilots was challenging and that the skill they showed “should not be underestimated”.
He said the controlled landing was done successfully thanks to the pilots’ regular training.
“This is a procedure that Bond pilots routinely practice in the simulators available to them,” he said.
“This is a difficult procedure, and the pilot and co-pilot should be commended for their skill in executing the procedure.”
Mr Roy was told trade unions had raised concerns about the company’s operations in recent weeks and about its level of transparency.
He was also told that some union members were now frightened to go on Bond helicopters.
He said: “There is complete transparency within our organisation.
“We work very closely with the regulators and aircraft manufacturers, as do all helicopter operators in Aberdeen. I would reiterate it is a safe form of travel.”