A cross-party committee of MPs have called for a full public inquiry into whether the safety of offshore helicopter flights is being jeopardised by “commercial pressure”.

The Transport Select Committee’s call comes as it published a report outlining lessons to be learnt from the five North Sea helicopter crashes since 2009. The most recent, on 23 August 2013 as it approached Sumburgh Airport on Shetland, led to the death of four onboard workers.

The MPs highlighted how the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) investigation into the Sumburgh crash uncovered a number of issues, including how the pre-flight safety briefing failed to accurately explain how to use the helicopter’s emergency breathing system. Some survivors reported not using it due to the information they were given in the briefing. However, there is no evidence, according to the report, that Super Puma variant helicopters, which were involved in all of the five crashes, are less safe than other helicopters.

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