Bristow, union reject call for contracts’ termination

Bristow helicopters

Bristow helicopters

WORKERS in the aviation sector have decried the clamour by the Nigerian National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), for the termination of Bristow Helicopters’ contracts in the country following the recent, ditch of its Sikorsky S-76C++ chopper.

According to NAPIMS last August’s crash of Bristow’s Sikorsky and the February incident were enough reason to terminate the airline’s contractual agreements.

However, the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN) in a statement has questioned the authority and grounds of which NAPIMS gave that directive.

The national president of the association, Benjamin Okewu noted that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the body with the statutory power to determine the worthiness or otherwise of operators has already launched an audit into the operation of the airline in line with the standard practice all over the world.

According to him, “NAPIMS is only but a corporate service unit of the exploration and production Directorate on the NNPC and have not power to act instead of the regulator, NCAA”

Okewu argued that the only organisation recognised by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to ground any airline operations and declare it unsafe to fly is the NCAA.

ATSSSAN however, advised NAPIMS not to use the unfortunate situation of the crash or ditching to play the politics of diverting Bristow contracts to other parties where they seemed to have vested interest in the name of safety as it is too early to make such conclusion.

Meanwhile, Bristow has also issued a statement on the clamour, saying that, “We are aware that a number of our clients have received a letter from the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) requesting termination of Bristow’s services and have engaged the authority and other government officials on the matter.”

The airline stated that safety is Bristow’s number one core value and remain focused on safety in all aspects of their operation, stressing that they are in full compliance of all NCAA regulatory requirements and Sikorsky operating directives, and continue to fully cooperate with the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) in their investigation into the event of Feb. 3, 2016.

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