In the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) review into offshore helicopter safety which was published on 20 February 2014, it identified actions to improve the survivability of accidents that include:
- From 1 June 2014 – passengers will only be able to fly if they are seated next to an emergency window exit to make it easier to get out of a helicopter in an emergency (unless helicopters are fitted with extra flotation devices or passengers are provided with better emergency breathing systems)
- From 1 April 2016 – all passengers required to have better emergency breathing equipment to increase underwater survival time unless the helicopter is equipped with side floats
- From 1 June 2014 – prohibiting helicopter flights in the most severe sea conditions, except in response to an emergency, so that the chance of a ditched helicopter capsizing is reduced and a rescue can be safely undertaken
- From 1 September 2014 – imposing restrictions on helicopter flights in serious sea conditions relative to the sea conditions that the helicopter has been certificated to
However, following discussions with the industry and helicopter pilots, the CAA have recently announced changes to two requirements aimed at improving offshore safety:
- the implementation of the seating restrictions will be delayed until 1 September 2014.
- the date that passengers are required to have better emergency breathing equipment has been significantly brought forweard to 1 January 2015