Although forming a relatively small proportion of commercial aviation transport operations in the UK, the majority of large public transport helicopter operations are conducted in support of the offshore oil and gas industry transporting an average of 1 million passengers to offshore installations annually. This industry is of significant strategic and economic importance to the UK and it would be unable to function efficiently without helicopter support. Offshore helicopter operations therefore remain an important area of attention for safety improvement.
Incidents in 2016 involving large offshore helicopters highlight the importance for industry, regulators and operators to remain focussed on improving safety within the sector. Recognising the continuing economic pressures on oil and gas production, specifically the focus on reducing operational costs, operators and regulators must ensure safety remains a focus and priority for continuous improvement. Work continues with industry and regulators to ensure that the actions and recommendations from the CAA Offshore Helicopter Review (
CAP 1145) are completed and embedded in normal working practices.
Onshore helicopter operations also continue to see significant occurrences throughout both commercial and private operations. With a greater diversity in both types of helicopter and operation, exposure and risks differ from those of the larger helicopter types typically used for offshore operations. Recognising the importance of onshore helicopter operations to the public, industry and UK security, safety of the smaller helicopter types must receive due attention in terms of improving safety.
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