CAA announces review of North Sea helicopter operations

Date: 24 September 2013

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK’s specialist aviation regulator, today announced a review of offshore helicopter operations in the North Sea. The review will be undertaken jointly with the Norwegian CAA and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and advised by a panel of independent experts. It will study current operations, previous incidents and accidents and offshore helicopter flying in other countries to make recommendations aimed at improving the safety of offshore flying.

Although there has been considerable effort by regulators, operators and the offshore industry to minimise the risk of North Sea helicopter operations there have been five accidents in the past four years, two of which tragically resulted in fatalities.

The review will be led by the CAA’s Head of Flight Operations, Captain Bob Jones who will work closely with Geir Hamre, Head of helicopter safety for the Norwegian CAA. They will be supported by a team of experts who will consult with a wide range of individuals and organisations involved in offshore flying. The final review will also be subject to scrutiny by independent specialists.

The review will pay particular attention to:
• Operators decision making and internal management
• The protection of passengers and crew
• Pilot training and performance
• Helicopter airworthiness

It will include a comparison study of UK operations with those in Norway. The findings of the review are due to be published in early 2014.

Mark Swan, Director of the CAA’s Safety and Airspace Regulation Group, said: “The recent accidents have understandably given rise to concerns, particularly with offshore workers who rely so heavily on these helicopter flights. We are absolutely committed to ensuring that operations are as safe as possible. The review we are announcing today will thoroughly examine the risks and hazards of operating in the North Sea and how these can be managed most effectively.

“We are extremely grateful to Geir Hamre from the Norwegian CAA and the European Aviation Safety Agency for joining the review team. They bring additional expertise and experience which will be invaluable to the review.”

For further media information contact the CAA Press on: 0207 453 6030 press.office@caa.co.uk.

Follow the CAA on Twitter @UK_CAA

Notes to Editors:
More details of the review are available on the CAA website at North Sea Helicopter Review.

The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy.