Opinion 04/2015

Helicopter Offshore Operations

This Opinion addresses the safety risks identified for helicopter offshore operations (HOFO) and ensures a level playing field.

The objective of this Opinion is, firstly, to mitigate the safety risks by introducing specific regulatory provisions, including an approval requirement, for all helicopter offshore operations, and, secondly, to harmonise the regulatory requirements for the EU. To achieve this, a new Subpart K of Annex V (Part-SPA) to Commission Regulation (EU) No 965/2012, applicable to CAT, NCC and SPO, is proposed through this Opinion.

Rules, or parts thereof, embedded in Annex IV (Part-CAT), Annex VII (Part-NCC) and Annex VIII (Part–SPO), covering helicopter offshore operations, are transposed to Subpart K. In addition, related to the identified safety risks and based on safety reviews and new technology, new provisions are introduced in Subpart K.

Consequential amendments concern the Cover Regulation, Annex I (Part Definitions) and Annex II (Part-ARO).

This Opinion is expected to maintain the high level of safety for helicopter offshore operations established by the Member States in which most of the offshore operations take place.

Proportionality is ensured through appropriate rules for the different types of operations. While CAT, NCC and SPO operators are required to follow Subpart K, NCO operations are excluded from these operations.