War in Ukraine impacts on energy and marine essential workers’ travel

Mar 03 2022

Leading independent travel management company Munro’s Travel, which specialises in oil and gas, energy and marine workers’ global movements, is warning that the closure of Ukraine airspace will impact on the travel plans of essential workers. And, this, in turn, could lead to reduced productivity and increased costs for their companies.

Murray Burnett, managing director of Munro’s Travel explains, “Even if no workers were planned to arrive or depart from Ukraine airports, the closure of the airspace above the country will impact on all routes which cross this space. This will mean delays for workers due to re routing these flights away from this airspace.


“Add to this the newly announced ban on Russian flights entering UK airspace or touching down on UK soil and the retaliation by Russia meaning that all UK flights are equally banned from flying over Russia. Hour by hour, further airlines are pulling their flights from Russian territory including Japan Airlines.


“This is perhaps more significant for energy and marine workers as many fly out to Asia in their essential worker roles on installations and vessels. Some flights may be re rerouted with minimal delay, but it may not be possible to reroute many of these flights and our team will be working to rebook these passengers on alternative routes.


“HR teams will also be faced with the issue of Ukrainian nationals working in other locations who cannot now be transported home to Ukraine.


“The logistics of arranging for a crew - which can comprise dozens of workers all based in different countries – to arrive for a crew change around at the same time is challenging at the best of time.


“Airlines are currently looking at solutions including using Alaska’s Anchorage airport which was used by Western airlines as a refuelling point during the Cold War.


“It’s likely that many workers will be displaced and unable to reach their destination at the expected time and this will have knock-on financial impacts on rig and vessel productivity. Having your essential workers’ travel managed by industry expert is key at a time like this. At Munro’s for example, we receive an average of 40 travel alerts a day – from major to minor disruptions globally. The number of alerts has ramped up significantly since yesterday as governments announce their restrictions on Russian flights and each airline announces their plan to mitigate these. Russia does not appear to be proactively banning any airlines, but it is reacting to each country’s own sanctions against Russian airlines, so it’s a hugely fluid situation.


“The role of passenger tracking tools comes into its own at a time like this when companies need to know the current location of individual members of their teams both to check on their safety and how they can re route them to their destination using different flights.”

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