The return of the Super Puma helicopter to offshore oil and gas operations is potentially on the cards after Airbus executives hinted the aircraft's capabilities is renewing interests.

Industry widely abandoned the helicopter after a series of fatal incidents, including one on the H225 aircraft in 2016 that killed 13 people off Turroy, Norway, including 41-year-old Iain Stuart from Laurencekirk.

A 2009 crash killed 16 people after a gearbox failure forced the helicopter into the water near Peterhead, while four offshore workers died in a 2013 crash during an approach to Sumburgh airport in Shetland.

In 2017, the year the ban on using Super Puma's was lifted, trade unionists said operators would face a "battle with their workforce" if they were to start using the rotor type again.

However, Regis Magnac, Airbus Head of Energy, told reporters in France heavy-lift aircrafts "are still needed".

He said: "There are areas of the world where long, long distance flights — potentially with de-icing and [other capabilities] — are still needed, and there will be a need for replacement of the heavies flying there.

"This is where the 225 will come into play, because we believe that [with] its range capacities, de-icing capacity, [and] its cabin size can be a replacement for those needs — and can be the only replacement for those needs."

Read more in Energy Voice.

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