24 Sep 2019

Heli-logging company blames Civil Aviation Authority for losses

6:17 pm on 24 September 2019

A now defunct heli-logging company claims the Civil Aviation Authority misled it when applying to fly new helicopters.

Forestry section in Port Underwood, South Island, New Zealand

Photo: 123RF

In 2005, the authority declined to allow Heli-Logging Limited to fly Wessex Mk 2 helicopters for commercial purposes because of safety concerns.

The company is now in liquidation and is seeking damages for loss of profits, earnings and legal costs.

At the High Court in Wellington today, Heli-logging's lawyer Paul Dale QC said the wording of an early letter from the CAA gave the company hope its application to fly the helicopters was progressing well.

However, he said the Civil Aviation Authority thought differently.

"There is a difference in opinion as to what that letter conveyed - for the plaintiff it's intended that it provided a level of comfort that they were on the right path," he said.

Mr Dale said there were differing opinions about the safety record of the Wessex helicopters.

However, the CAA's lawyer Les Taylor QC said the authority followed a thorough process when making its decision.

He said the case lacked focus.

"This case suffers from an absolute lack of focus as to what the plaintiff's case is - what it needs to prove and what is relevant and what is not relevant," he said.

The case before Justice Cooke is set down for up to eight weeks.