HeliOffshore meets onshore

You might expect a meeting of 150 arch rivals to have at least one fight, but HeliOffshore’s first Annual General Meeting and Conference in Lisbon ended happily with no blood (which is appropriate for an organisation designed to stop accidents).

More seriously, attendees committed to new programmes that should make flying to and from offshore platforms safer.

“It exceeded my expectations – which were already high,” said Gretchen Haskins, CEO of HeliOffshore. “We had the right people there and we made real progress at the conference.”

“We had the right people there and we made real progress at the conference.”

Launched in October 2014, HeliOffshore’s mission is to improve the safety of all offshore helicopter flights. Haskins says that it can only do this by making a difference at the front line. And then measuring this.

HeliOffshore was founded by Babcock, Bristow, CHC, Era and PHI. Most significantly it was launched by the CEOs of these rival companies and they are very committed to it. Bill Chiles, former CEO of Bristow, is HeliOffshore’s chair.

In less than a year, HeliOffshore has grown to almost 50 members and become even more international. At the conference Josiah Choms, CEO of Caverton Helicopters and General Tan Sri Muhammad Ismail bin Jamaluddin, chairman of Weststar Aviation Services were added to the board.

HeliOffshore’s main focuses are on: automation; operational performance monitoring; flight path monitoring; health and usage monitoring; operational standards; and information exchange.

All of these areas were discussed in Portugal last week and Haskins said progress was made in several areas.  One example was a helicopter manufacturer CEO pledging that they would create a standard off-shore operating manual by the end of this year.

“Because we do not compete with anyone, HeliOffshore is in a unique position to act as a catalyst for safety,” says Haskins.

Haskins, who joined from the UK’s CAA, and before that NATS – the UK air traffic operator – is also relishing her new role. “I am absolutely loving this job,” she says. “We are able to quickly get things done to improve safety. There may just be four of us, but we have very powerful friends.”

“There may just be four of us, but we have very powerful friends.”

Alasdair Whyte

Alasdair launched Corporate Jet Investor and Helicopter Investor in 2010. He has more than 15 year's experience as a financial journalist and has specialised in aviation for much of this time. As well as editing the website, Alasdair helps to organise our international conferences and events. He also regularly chairs them as well as other industry gatherings.

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