Oil companies yet to apply on night flights

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Offshore regulator says no change to helicopter flying day

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB) has yet to receive any application from oil companies active offshore seeking an extension of the helicopter flying day.

A Cougar helicopter prepares to land at St. John’s International Airport. — Telegram file photo

Helicopter transports for offshore workers currently do not run outside of strict daylight hours.

Back in October 2013, representatives for oil companies invested in exploration and development offshore confirmed their intention to seek permission to add to those hours.

They want to be able to have flights landing at night, just after dusk, if required.

According to information provided, what is being requested would amount to about 1 1/2 hours of additional flying time each day, lifting the ban on so-called “night flights.”

“The operators are still doing work internally to put a proposal together for the board,” said Paul Barnes, manager in Atlantic Canada with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), when asked about the topic Monday.

He said discussions with offshore workers have been ongoing. Union representatives issued objections to the change when it was first raised last year, noting there is an increased risk of death for workers in the event of a helicopter ditching at night.

The rationale for the new flight time is to avoid a backlog in flights due to poor weather — allowing delayed flights on a given day to take off the same day with a weather window, or service companies to otherwise play catch-up.

Provincial Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley said the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador would not take a position on the matter, leaving the CNLOPB to decide on the issue first.

The CNLOPB has already stated it will address the issue when a request for a change is actually tabled.



Organizations: Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador

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