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Old 21st Oct 2017, 22:59
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Elsewhere
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'Safety culture'

KLM gave Shell a first class service with excellent punctuality and very well equipped aircraft (S76B with superb AFCS/autopilot). A person in Shell Aviation suggested that by getting the helicopter companies to bid for the whole of the North Sea, then Shell would save a few quid. KLM could bid for the SNS and Dutch sectors but not the NNS so Bristow got the contract. The result was that the SNS and Dutch side were run on a shoestring budget and to quote a colleague it was like the retreat from Moscow! It was embarrassing to be part of it but Shell would rather have chewed their fingers off than admit their mistake. The great professionalism of the Bristow people at Norwich and Den Helder kept it going until the budgets were increased and the bases brought up to respectable standards (apart from the initially rat infested hangar at Norwich, which was never really up to scratch).

Shell made a lot of noise about their safety culture offshore but only if it didn't cost too much money. It was only after we lost G-BJVX and there was a major investigation that they found out that the teams called out to fix NUIs at night (sometimes all night long) and who had been working all the day before were as worried about the fatigue state of the two people in the cockpit as they were about their own tiredness. Only then did Shell implement rules about night call-outs - evacuations for safety reasons; casevacs; medevacs and compassionate reasons but no night shuttles for purely commercial reasons. My most interesting was being called in at 2200, shuttling to about 5 NUIs all night and back to base when the early crews were planning their 0700 flights and that was not unusual. Safety culture - my backside!

Bristow then gave Shell excellent service (after the teething problems were eventually sorted) until Shell decided to save another few quid by ripping up the contract for a cheaper operator. We looked with interest at Shell's finances and found that transport costs were about 0.04% of their budget.

Last edited by FD2; 22nd Oct 2017 at 11:26. Reason: speling
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