BHA Governance and Independence
Response to Jeremy Parkin, HeliHub.com, request for a statement regarding BHA Governance and Independence.
Are We Independent?
From time to time, the British Helicopter Association is quizzed on how it can fairly and effectively represent its members.
After all, it has a broad membership comprising large companies and some smaller independent operators with diverse focus that includes emergency services, offshore support, manufacturing and corporate and private owners. Others include companies that support helicopter operations such as heliport/helipad owners, energy companies, freelance commercial pilots and those offering training, insurance and finance within the sector.
Each one has its own specific needs and set of priorities. However, in order to be effective and ensure the industry as a whole is heard and respected at a level where decisions are being made about infrastructure and air transport legislation, as well as safety rules and regulations both in the UK and in Europe, our members recognize how crucial it is to speak with a single voice. They appreciate that there are shared issues and by joining forces they have more chance of protecting and promoting the interests of the British Rotorcraft industry when faced with the might of the larger aviation market.
Over the years the BHA has achieved much, particularly in the fields of aviation legislation and airworthiness.
This year, some of the work we are engaged in involves pursuing, with colleagues in EHA the revision not only of the detailed examples of EASA regulations, but also of the whole framework for developing and applying new rules. The Director of EASA has set in train a review of the basis for regulatory measures, resulting in a fresher and more commercial approach to their task. In detail, the BHA has contributed to forcing a re-think on several measures including EASA engaging unnecessarily in some minor operational issues.
In Europe, the BHA has taken the lead in three important initiatives: a position paper for the EU Commission on the current and potential contribution of Rotorcraft to Regional Connectivity; an article on the impact of emerging technologies to our operations in “Parliament”, an important EU magazine; and perhaps most importantly a High Level Paper, supported by credible analysis, on the substantial contribution of Rotorcraft to the economy, well-being and transport system of Europe.
Could this have been achieved at this level unless there was a single, clear voice to speak for our industry? We leave that to our members to decide. However, the fact that membership has remained strong despite the recession in the offshore oil and gas industry and its knock on effect probably indicates that they believe that it could not have been.
So, how does the BHA ensure that it remains representative of ALL its members regardless of size or function?
The BHA has a policy of openness and transparency. Its purpose and objectives are clearly set out each year in the Information Handbook which is sent out to every member. These are drawn up by the Council of Management in consultation with the working committees: Off-shore Operators, On-shore Operators, Training, Technical and Emergency Services.
The Council of Management is elected annually and represents the different classes of membership. A full list of who sits on the Council and the Working Committee Chairmen is included in the Handbook. The Minutes of all the Working Committees are posted for members on the BHA website.
Members of the Council are the only holders of voting rights at meetings and these Members are nominated by the different BHA membership classes. The Council Members are usually employees or Directors of commercial companies, representatives from emergency service operators, private owners and other membership organisations.
The President and Vice Presidents are not members of the Council of Management but act as figureheads for the BHA. As such, they do not have voting rights. However, the BHA benefits from their insight and experience.
Historically, the President has attended one Council Meeting per year as an observer.
The BHA is fortunate to have had as its President since 2004, Lord Glenarthur, a former experienced professional, military and civil helicopter pilot by background, before becoming a Government Minister. Subsequently he became Chairman of BHA’s predecessor, The British Helicopter Advisory Board (BHAB). He is also one of the 90 hereditary peers elected to remain in the House of Lords.
Although he is not a member of the BHA Council and has no vote in terms of BHA matters, his knowledge of the industry and his position in the House of Lords places him at the centre of debate and influence where necessary about core issues of legislation, and means that he is an important and respected resource.
This was recently demonstrated by his ability, during a debate in the House of Lords (Tuesday 5th July), to highlight the need for the UK’s aviation expertise to be protected as the UK withdraws from the EU.
His position gives the BHA first hand access where necessary to what is being discussed and proposed in Government. Without him we would be unlikely to achieve such representation.
Lord Glenarthur, as would be expected given his experience and position, has held and currently holds a number of directorships, including his current Non-Executive Chairmanship of British European Aviation Ltd. the parent company of Heli Air. This is well documented and clearly within the public arena.
As well as his past Chairmanship of BHAB, he was also Chairman of the European Helicopter Association between 1996 and 2003 and of the International Federation of Helicopter Associations on several occasions between 1997 and 2004 and was a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society from 1992 to 2011.
For further information please contact:
Tel: 01276 856100