South Westland helicopter company given green light to fly

By Janna Sherman of Hoktitika Guardian

Wreckage of a Alpine Adventures Scenic Flights at Fox Glacier. All seven people on board died.
Wreckage of a Alpine Adventures Scenic Flights at Fox Glacier. All seven people on board died.

Civil Aviation has given grounded South Westland helicopter company Alpine Adventures the green light to fly again.

However, the company - operating under a new board and new name - will spend some time training before it can resume scenic flights from its six bases.

CAA spokesman Mike Richards confirmed yesterday an air operating certificate had been issued to the renamed entity, Fox-Franz Heliservices.

The Companies Office shows that company was incorporated in June, and lists Karangarua pilot James Scott as the sole shareholder and director.

In May, CAA suspended Scott's air operating certificate for Alpine Adventures, initially for 10-days. However, Scott, who is facing separate health and safety charges laid by CAA, later surrendered the certificate.

A staff member confirmed yesterday the certificate had now been re-issued, but they were not flying.

Franz Josef and Fox Glacier Heliservices and Alpine Adventures manager Mike Nolan said on Friday they were expecting it to come through by the end of the day. However, staff would spend some time in training before flights resumed.

The website was still under construction yesterday.

Nolan said previously a new chief executive and management team would be appointed.

All 30 staff across the company's six bases, including those in Franz Josef and Fox Glacier, have stayed on the payroll while the tourism side of the operation has been grounded for the past four months.

At the time of issuing the initial suspension, Civil Aviation director Graeme Harris said the action was taken in the public interest while his doubts about the safety of the Alpine Adventures operation were resolved.

Since then, Scott and the his quality assurance manager Barry Waterland have been charged under the 1992 Health and Safety in Employment Act in relation to the November 2015 helicopter crash on Fox Glacier which killed all seven on board.

Both are expected to appear in the Greymouth District Court on Thursday.

- Hoktitika Guardian

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 30 May 2017 07:29:45 Processing Time: 415ms