Helicopter operators work with Cayman

One of the largest helicopter operators in the world has partnered with the Cayman Islands to ensure its crafts are up to international standards.

CHC has more than 250 helicopters worldwide operating in many jurisdictions serving the oil and gas industry as well as search and rescue in the United Kingdom. But because many of those jurisdictions do not have the infrastructure to take care of necessary certification and standards, CHC approached the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands during 2010 to pursue a regulatory partnership.

“Their services are global and they are not operating anything within the Cayman Islands. There will be no helicopter services operating here. Their first operation will actually be in Falkland Islands where there are oil exploration projects going on,” said Richard Smith, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority.

Two crafts have already been certified by the authority, which will now ensure that its surveyors across the world would go out and ensure the crafts are maintained to industry standards of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

“Part of the mandate is to ensure that they do adhere to all of those standards. Some jurisdictions do not have the capability which is where we come in because we do [have the capability],” he said.

Benefits for Cayman

The partnership brings benefits to the Cayman Islands, explained Mr. Smith, who noted that providing certification to a world leader in the field would bring positive exposure and credibility to the Civil Aviation Authority. There are also direct local benefits.

“There are financial benefits to the territory not only for the authority but there are legal and financial institutions on Island that they have to deal with. Part of the mandate is that they have to have a local representative, an accountable manager based locally. There are spinoffs and it is a positive, win-win situation for both sides. We have already talked about what they hope to be a long-standing relationship and expansion in various fields of their operations.

“In the past we have had enquiries from the odd operator with two helicopters seeking certification, especially overseas but you have to be careful, especially with your obligation for oversight and safety. We haven’t entertained those enquiries but we felt comfortable enough with this company’s stature. We are excited about this as they are and hope it’s going to be a long-standing relationship.”


  1. So……let me get this straight. A major Helicopter Corporation with 250 helicopters worldwide is going to use the CI CAA who currently administer 2 helicopters locally and a handful worldwide because they are more professional? OR, could it be because, like in the shipping world, it is simply cheaper and less onerous to use the CI CAA than all the others?

  2. Talk about a feelgood story trying to big up our islands!!!!!
    It was a financial decision, pure and simple.
    We are cheaper!
    The only good news here is that the CAA will have to employ more people to cope with the paperwork.
    OH, hold on……what do we get from that? The new employees will be overseas CAA ex-pats who come here to evade paying tax.
    End result – we lose again. Tax the exp-pats now!!!!!

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