Five major helicopter operators have officially announced a new industry association – HeliOffshore – for organisations with an interest in working together on safety in offshore helicopter transport. The new association was introduced at a launch event at its offices in London.
Founded by five major helicopter operators, HeliOffshore will use cross-industry cooperation as a platform for enhancing the industry’s overall strong safety record by sharing best practices, developing and applying advanced technology, and encouraging common global flight standards, explained CHC in a statement.
“By bringing the main operators together, HeliOffshore will help to promote safety and share best practice,” says UK Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill.
Gretchen Haskins, who was selected as HeliOffshore’s chief executive last month, said the association is open to any group with a stake in offshore helicopter flight. She said that membership is expected to include customers of helicopter services, aircraft manufacturers, service providers, technology companies, staff and passenger organisations, and government and research institutions.
Gretchen Haskins said: “HeliOffshore will work to achieve the highest levels of safety, in the air and on the ground. We want to deliver real safety benefits for the people who depend on the industry to get to and from their offshore workplaces, the crews who fly the helicopters and the teams who maintain them.”
UK Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill joined representatives of HeliOffshore founding members – Avincis, Bristow Group, CHC Helicopter, Era and PHI Inc. – and several dozen others at the announcement in London. Afterward, the association conducted its inaugural safety workshop.
UK Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill said: “We all agree safety is the highest priority for the offshore helicopter industry. By bringing the main operators together, HeliOffshore will help to promote safety and share best practice. This is a really positive step towards ensuring the strongest possible safeguards are in place and are applied consistently. I will also be working to ensure the Civil Aviation Authority continues to implement the recommendations from its Offshore Helicopter Review.”
HeliOffshore grew out of a joint initiative by helicopter operators that started more than a year ago, to further enhance offshore flight safety in the North Sea, as well as from work by the European Helicopter Operators Committee. While its origins are regional, HeliOffshore’s objectives are global, the press release stated.
“The industry will continue to compete vigorously on commercial issues, but safety is not a competitive factor,” said Haskins. “The best way to continually improve safety standards is through cooperation.”
HeliOffshore initially will focus on six priority areas:
– Pilot monitoring;
– Stabilised approaches;
– Accident survivability;
– Application of health and usage monitoring systems (HUMS);
– Information exchange.
Haskins is an internationally recognized expert in human factors of safety, and has an extensive record of leadership in raising aviation safety performance by increasing partnership within the global aviation safety community, CHC said.
According to the statement, the former group director of the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority’s Safety Regulation Group and group director of safety at NATS, the main air-navigation service provider in the United Kingdom, Haskins is a longtime champion of initiatives that improve frontline operational safety. She has also advised NATO (the North American Treaty Organisation) on human performance and critical safety systems.
William E. Chiles, who recently retired as president and CEO of Bristow, is the first chairman of HeliOffshore’s board of directors, which includes James Drummond, Avincis; Bill Amelio, CHC; Chris Bradshaw, ERA, and Al Gonsoulin, PHI.
Press Release; Image: CHC