An accident in Norway forces Super Puma to stay on the ground for four months, a drop in the activity of petrol platforms requiring frequent helicopter services, and now Poland ditches an order worth over 3 billion Euros for 50 Caracal helicopters. Add these three together, and they spell a big headache for Airbus Helicopters.
On 19th September, the division's chief executive, Guillaume Faury, informed his employees that the last four months of 2016 were going to be "crucial" for the future.
For the time-being, nobody has openly mentioned job cuts, but "further measures" - in addition to cost-savings already announced - are under review. Voluntary redundancies are a risk, because the figures are not good. In the first half of 2016, the number of orders fell by more than 7% compared to the same period in 2015 - a year in which the civil and parapublic sector markets had already seen a fall of 20% compared to the previous year.
In a single ray of light on an otherwise bleak horizon, on 7th October the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) lifted the ban on the flight of Super Puma, under certain conditions. Only the signature of major contracts underway in Asia or a turnaround in Poland's decision might let the sunshine back in.