Eurocopter poaches BAE's Scott Hailstone for new comms role

Eurocopter has created a new top PR role to help drive comms efforts amid a Civil Aviation Authority ban on its EC225 Super Puma helicopters following North Sea ditching incidents last year.

Scott Hailstone: Joining from BAE
Scott Hailstone: Joining from BAE
The manufacturer, which is owned by aerospace giant EADS, has recruited Scott Hailstone for the job. Hailstone has swapped his role as head of media relations across Asia at BAE Systems for working at Eurocopter's Aberdeen base.

Cecile Vion-Lanctuit, VP corporate comms at Eurocopter, said: ‘We are delighted to have appointed Scott into the new position of head of communications UK. He brings a wealth of experience in corporate communications and will help drive our communications efforts forward in the UK.’

Last year the company’s fleet of EC225 Super Puma helicopters, which are used for offshore transportation in the oil and gas sector, was banned from overwater flight by the UK's Civil Aviation Authority.

The effective grounding was imposed after the ditching of two of the helicopters in the North Sea, with gearbox issues thought to be responsible for the incidents. The CAA confirmed the ban remains in place today.

In December, Eurocopter’s CEO Lutz Bertling was reported by aviation news site Flightglobal as admitting that the UK’s oil and gas industry had ‘lost confidence’ in the brand.

Speaking at a Helicopter Safety Steering Group (HSSG), he is reported to have added that Eurocopter's first priority was not to return the Super Pumas to service, but to ‘regain confidence in the aircraft, company and solution’.

A well-placed source pointed to the need for the company to re-engage and reassure oil and gas operators as one of the reasons for the new post.

‘He will be looking at relations with the oil and gas community in Scotland, so it’s about regaining confidence there,’ they added.

Last June six employees of the firm were killed when a Eurocopter helicopter crashed in France, with initial investigations suggesting it hit an electric cable.

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