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Setting the standard for aviation risk management | Andrew Nicholson

Setting the standard for aviation risk management | Andrew Nicholson

Andrew Nicholson


Andrew Nicholson, CEO of Osprey Flight Solutions, leads through service. His priority is always to ensure that every team member has everything they need and all the support he can provide to make them successful, inspired, motivated, and happy. He believes that each individual is more important than the commercial success of the company and that everyone deserves the trust and space to achieve their goals. This comes from Andrew’s non-negotiable belief in two-way transparency. “By ensuring that the company’s vision, mission, and strategic goals are not just understood, but owned by every person in the team, autonomy enables innovation and agility,” adds Andrew.

After people, Andrew’s priority is the success of Osprey’s clients. It is making sure that those organizations and people who have put their trust in Osprey are fully supported and that the company always delivers over and above expectations. This means a focus on innovation to bring continuously improving capabilities and value to clients. This approach has ensured that Osprey has continued to see dramatic growth over the last year, during a time that has been so difficult for many. The world is in the grips of a pandemic that has decimated industries, destroyed economies, and, saddest of all, resulted in the death of over 3m people. For many organizations in the aviation industry, it has been and continues to be an existential crisis. 

The decision that Andrew and his team made together was to support the industry through this crisis in every way they could, which included offering many services for free. This has demonstrated that a focus on others – people and clients – rather than Osprey’s own success, was more than a sound business decision.

Osprey Flight Solutions was created from the realization that the aviation industry did not have the risk management support it needed, most importantly, to avoid tragedies such as the shootdown of MH17 but also to understand, on a day-to-day basis, the broad spectrum of risks that crew, passengers and aircraft face. In order to ensure that this support is available and usable, it has to be systematic – that is, risk management just has to happen, without anyone having to do anything more than they are already doing. It should make people more effective and efficient. The concept behind Osprey was to use a fusion of technology and world-leading analytical expertise to achieve this.

Osprey fuses real-time information, technology, and industry-leading expertise to deliver the most advanced aviation risk analysis available anywhere. “On their own, data, computing power or human analysts cannot deliver consistent, objective, dynamic and systematic risk management. To enable operators, governments and regulatory bodies to truly understand the broad spectrum of risks facing each and every flight, free of the inherent bias in every human, integration of these three components is essential,” says Andrew. “This requires identification of hundreds of thousands of reliable data sources, a team of industry leading aviation analysts and a proprietary software package that can seamlessly fuse the two.”

The Osprey system can take data from any flight planning software package, enabling any flight to be automatically risk assessed at the press of a button. In addition to this, by receiving filed flight plan data through national aviation authorities and industry communication networks, true systematic risk management takes place. Every flight plan is automatically risk assessed and saved, enabling any organization to see an instantaneous, dynamic risk profile of their whole network of flights, be that a specific operator or operators, or all flights inbound to or outbound from a country.

As an example, a major carrier was hoping to fly through Iraqi airspace that was perceived to be high risk due to latent threats from the conflict.  Bypassing through this space, they would save time, fuel, and CO2 emissions.  “Our assessment and the detail of the data that we provided, enabled them to be confident that the actual threat to civil aviation in this airspace was, and is, low, contrary to the perception largely driven by media reporting,” explains Andrew. “After using our system to monitor the airspace for a few months, they did change their routing through the region and have maintained 100% safety record on those flights.”

Andrew’s original concept, and the core reason for the establishment of Osprey, was to enable systematic risk management for aviation. This means risk management for every single flight operation, without adding further burden through additional technology demands or processes. Systematic risk management should and does improve efficiency. “This is our biggest achievement.  We have realized this dream to enable airlines, business jet operators, government departments and regulatory bodies to automatically risk assess every single flight and dynamically monitor that risk, giving a consistent and objective view of exactly where their key risks lie, make risk-based decisions quickly and effectively and apply resources efficiently. This is a game-changing capability for the industry,” adds Andrew.

Osprey has recently been selected as the European Aviation Safety Agency’s partner in developing and supporting an information-sharing platform on conflict zones for the entire European region—states and operators. “It is very rewarding for us to know that every European state and operator will be supported in their risk management processes through access to our data and analysis,” says Andrew. “It solidifies our position as the leading provider of aviation risk management data, information and analysis as well as demonstrating our innovation and agility – the platform was built, from scope to launch, in just 6 weeks.”

Andrew Nichoson award

“By ensuring that the company’s vision, mission, and strategic goals are not just understood, but owned by every person in the team, autonomy enables innovation and agility.”

Andrew Nicholson


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