Industry leaders join forces at Helitech in the name of safety
Oct. 15, 2014, Amsterdam, Ned. - The Business and Strategy Conference on the first day of Helitech International kicked off with the Industry Business Leaders' Forum featuring high-level speakers Jonathan Baliff, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bristow Group and Guillaume Faury, President and CEO, Airbus Helicopters, Roberto Garavaglia, SVP Strategy and Business Development, AgustaWestland, Chris Drew, Principal Consultant, Baines Simmons and Chris Seymour, Head of Market Analysis, Ascend Flightglobal Consultancy, who detailed the need for the rotorcraft industry to join forces to work together more closely to deliver a safer and more financially viable business infrastructure.
By Carey Fredericks
"For me, the clearest and strongest message from the Industry Business Leaders' Forum today was the unanimous and enthusiastic support for greater collaboration across all levels of the helicopter industry from some of the biggest industry leaders of our time. Sharing of knowledge, experience and valuable data (particularly in terms of safety systems and reporting) will in turn serve to support, enhance and promote an already reliable and inherently safe industry," said Aoife O'Sullivan, Head of Aircraft Finance at Kennedys Law LLP, who was the session moderator.
Jonathan Baliff outlined the urgent need for sharing safety practices. He reiterated that there is "no profit without safety" and detailed the latest industry collaboration on safety through an initiative called HeliOffshore. A Joint Operations Review (JOR) was launched in 2013 to improve safety in the North Sea, which includes major North Sea operators Avincis/Bond, Bristow, CHC, ERA and PHI. To date, significant progress has been achieved in five work streams: automation; pilot monitoring; stabilized approaches; information exchange and oil and gas standards. The JOR will be subsumed within HeliOffshore which is now headed by new CEO Gretchen Haskins.
"I will say that the industry over the last four years has been a safe industry. Yes, there have been issues, but if you really look at the improvement in ground safety and the number of air incidents, we are seeing a better trend. This doesn't mean we are happy with where we are as an industry. The industry will have a much more integrated approach as we focus on safety with our clients and there's a lot more scrutiny of operators regarding safety because we're mostly flying larger helicopters further offshore," commented Jonathan Baliff.
In addition to outlining industry themes during the next five years including further offshore, harsh environments (remote and/or cold) maturing basins and government outsourcing, Jonathan Baliff emphasized the importance of partnering with OEMs to better understand the demand for spares and to share both risks and rewards with OEMs on aircraft availability. A key area is to manage costs as Bristow shares operational risk with the demand for enhanced service performance; a new support approach is required with some amount of risk being shared on availability. Jonathan Baliff also said that the rotorcraft industry is struggling to fully define itself and requires further maturity to achieve win/win scenarios.
In his presentation, Guillaume Faury echoed the words of Henry Ford: "Coming together is a beginning – keeping together is progress – working together is a success."
Guillaume Faury confirmed that the industry was experiencing "times of change" and listed three priorities for Airbus Helicopters – quality and safety; customer satisfaction and competitiveness. An important priority was to keep customers flying and to deliver good products and services. With his previous automotive experience, Guillaume Faury felt that the rotorcraft industry can learn a lot by looking at other industries as well as better industrializing current production processes.
"The packed auditorium heard at first hand from leading stakeholders in the rotorcraft industry the very real need to collaborate even more closely to produce positive results for all levels of the supply chain. The latest trends and issues provided many stimulating discussions which have reinforced the value of the Education Programme at this year's event, which continue with the EHA Rotorcraft Seminars on 15 October and the Safety Workshop on 16 October," said John Hyde, Event Director for Helitech International.