Bristow Group’s chief executive designate has promised to continue the helicopter operator's commitment to aviation safety when he takes the helm in the summer.
Jonathan Baliff, presently the company’s chief financial officer, will on 1 August take over from incumbent Bill Chiles, who has championed safer operations – particularly through Bristow's Target Zero initiative.
Chiles will remain with the company after he hands over the reins and will head up Bristow’s work on North Sea helicopter safety.
Launched with fellow operators CHC Helicopter and Avincis in the wake of the fatal crash of an Airbus Helicopters AS332L2 in August off Shetland, the initiative aims to increase the sharing of safety and operational best practice between the companies.
"It's not something that can be done overnight, but there's a real intent and sense of urgency to get it in place very quickly,” says Baliff.
Other operators outside the deepwater North Sea area have also expressed an interest in becoming involved once the project is widened, he says, with companies in the Netherlands and France potential recruits to what may become an institution for the sector.
However, the three founder members of the group did not want “too many chefs in the kitchen” while they codify the new guidelines, says Baliff.
Baliff praises Chiles as a “transformative” chief executive, under whose stewardship the firm has grown from a $600 million turnover business to one with annual revenues of $1.7 billion.
He intends to manage the company along an “infrastructure model” with "stable cash flows" to protect it from the potential boom and bust of economic cycles, he says.