At Wednesday’s midnight 25.November the Icelandic Coast Guard helicopters will be grounded due to the mechanic’s strike, regardless of the progress of negotiations between the state and the Association of Icelandic Aircraft Engineers. Even in the case of a successful outcome, the maintenance will take at best two days, Morgunblaðið reported with the reference to Icelandic Coast Guard (ICG) information officer Ásgeir Erlendsson.
There are three helicopters in ICG’s fleet: two leased Airbus H225(reg. TF-EIR and TF-GRO) and one owned Aérospatiale AS.332 Super Puma (reg. TF-LIF). TF-EIR is grounded, TF-GRO will be grounded at midnight.
Negotiations between the Association of Icelandic Aviation Engineers and the state continued with the state mediator 23.November. “The ICG‘s mechanics have been on strike since November 5th. The Coast Guard is not part of the negotiations. It is between Aircraft Engineers Labour Union FVFÍ and the government‘s negotiating committee. TF-GRO needs to undergo regular maintenance at midnight tomorrow, and it will take at least two days to finish. Therefore the ICG will not have any helicopters that will be mission capable because TF-EIR and TF-LIF are also in maintenance”, Ásgeir Erlendsson told Flugblogg.
Various things can happen
Ásgeir says that it is difficult to say how long the maintenance of TF-GRO will take and says that various things can come up during the inspection and prolong the process. It also depends on how many people can work on it.
The TF-EIR helicopter is already in maintenance and nothing has been done in it for just over two weeks since the strike began. Instead, every effort has been made to keep the TF-GRO airworthy.
One helicopter in December
A lot of damage has already been done due to the accumulated maintenance and it takes a few weeks to unwind. It is clear that one helicopter will be available in December, according to Ásgeir. Although the strike will be resolved this week, it is likely that TF-EIR will still be in maintenance, at least until Christmas. “Of course, there is always the situation when one of them could become broken, especially if the other is still in maintenance,” he says. “So the situation is very bad,” he added.