Pilots to accuse regulators of safety failings over North Sea helicopter flights

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Helicopter pilots will accuse regulators today of failing to ensure adequate safety in the oil and gas industry.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) will tell MPs at a hearing at Aberdeen University that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has adopted a “light touch” regime.

In evidence to the transport select committee, Balpa will also question the level of “control” exerted by offshore firms on helicopter operators. The committee began a probe into helicopter safety last year after four workers died when a Super Puma crashed off Shetland.

MPs will hear evidence from operators, and the Balpa, RMT and Unite unions will also speak, as will trade body Oil and Gas UK.

Frank Doran, Labour MP for Aberdeen North, has campaigned for a full public inquiry, criticising the approach of having five separate probes into recent crashes.

Balpa will back that view today, the Press and Journal has learned.

In submitted documents, the pilots’ association states: “The CAA and helicopter companies have both recently announced reviews, but Balpa does not believe that either of these will adequately assess the role of the oil companies, the amount of control they exert over the helicopter companies and ultimately their impact on the safety of public transport on the North Sea.