Published date: 23 May 2019

Media release

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has responded to the release of the long-awaited Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) final report into the 21 November 2015 helicopter crash that claimed the lives of the pilot and six tourists.

CAA Director Graeme Harris said: “Firstly, I’d like to extend my heartfelt sympathy to the families of the victims of this crash. In particular, my thoughts are with them this week as they re-live the pain they first encountered in the days and weeks following the crash.

While the TAIC report does not identify a conclusive cause of the crash it does portray a confronting picture of the ineffectiveness of the CAA’s regulatory oversight of the operator in the lead-up to the crash – particularly during the period 2011 to 2012”

“From the CAA perspective the report confirmed the outcomes of the CAA’s own analysis of its interactions with the operator that it conducted in early 2017. It also reinforces the need for its ongoing efforts to significantly improve its regulatory performance that commenced in earnest in mid-2013 in response to previous criticism of its performance made by the Office of the Auditor General.”

“As a result of those efforts the CAA of today is a much more effective regulator than it was in 2012. These efforts – and I must also acknowledge the significant efforts of the passenger-carrying helicopter sector toimprove safety – have resulted in a 76% reduction in the rate of accidents involving helicopters conducting Air Transport operations.”

“Prompted by a recommendation in the draft TAIC report I decided to initiate an independent review of a sample CAA surveillance reports and any findings raised for oversight of this section of the aviation sector between 2014 and 2018.

I engaged PwC to do this work with the primary objective of determining whether there were unresolved safety issues with other operators still in the system. In particular I wanted to identify if there were any other ‘high risk’ operators, like JP Scott. There were not. In fact, a small number of operators that initially raised concerns during the PwC review had been removed from the aviation system by the CAA or been subject to other effective interventions that had reduced the risk they posed.

I can safely say JP Scott’s operation at the time was not at all typical of the vast majority of other operators in the sector and the CAA’s performance at the time was not representative of what it is now.” Mr Harris said.


Following the 2015 crash, the CAA conducted a Health and Safety Act (1992) investigation which led to 2
charges against Scott and one against Aviation Manual Development. Following guilty pleas, JP Scott was
fined $64,000 in the District Court in Christchurch last Friday 17 May, 2019. He had also paid out $875,000
in reparations to the victim’s families.