Offshore Industry: Helicopters

Department for Transport written question – answered on 27th February 2020.

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Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Labour, Stockton North

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many of the commercial helicopters currently contracted to provide passenger transport in the North Sea oil and gas sector have been upgraded to comply with the recommendations issued to that industry by the Civil Aviation Authority in 2014.

Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is committed to making North Sea helicopter flying as safe as possible and the CAA’s Safety review of offshore public transport helicopter operations in support of the exploitation of oil and gas resulted in wide ranging recommendations and actions to improve offshore helicopter safety standards.

A number of these recommendations and actions related to the certification of new helicopter designs, which is the responsibility of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). None of the recommendations specifically required existing helicopters to be upgraded.

One action from the safety review tasked the CAA to promote and support the implementation of the results of research into helicopter terrain awareness warning systems. This led to some helicopters being retrofitted in 2019, so that existing equipment specifically offers warnings for the offshore operating environment. This work is ongoing.

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