During the height of the pandemic:
“The energy sector cannot be switched off”
As soon as the pandemic hit, ATPI Marine & Energy dedicated resources, and developed communications to inform, and support our customers working to protect the health and safety of crew and personnel.
“It has been vital for energy organizations to safeguard crew as they traveled, to make every effort to reduce the risk of contracting the virus, and protect the overall wellbeing of personnel trying to return home. They were challenged to do so when travel ground to a complete halt," Stacey Armetta explains.
The marine and energy sectors cannot be switched off, and so it was also essential that business operations continued throughout the pandemic, despite the many logistical challenges set by varying national travel restrictions."
With guidance and limitations changing by the day, keeping up with new travel information quickly became a full-time job, demanding resources that many energy organizations simply could not afford, at such a strained time.
“In response to this, ATPI expanded our service to be more comprehensive than ever before,” shares Armetta. “We knew that supporting our clients in staying up-to-date with all of the new information regarding travel restrictions and quarantine requirements was the only way we would be able to develop valuable and efficient solutions as the crisis unfolded.”
In order to support energy organizations in continuing their critical business operations, ATPI focused on providing five essential services:
1. Managing altered or cancelled travel
The widespread cancellation of routes, and the limited capacity of many airlines meant that routine travel which had been planned months in advance, would no longer be taking place. The management of this involved extra ATPI accounting support, including written documentation to secure refunds when many airlines stopped automated refund processing, obtaining waivers to extend ticket validity and avoid penalty fees, and exchanging tickets to avoid additional outlay of cash. ATPI provided this service in order to provide value and savings to clients while minimizing the impact on clients’ resources.
2. Developing health and safety best practices
Protecting the health and safety of crew who continued to provide essential services was paramount, so ATPI managed and communicated all arrangements related to new travel processes such as quarantine protocols, COVID protocols / sterile paths, medical checks, PCR testing, documentation and essential worker letters.
3. Facilitating the continuation of safe travel
Although not a common practice within the energy sector prior to the pandemic, charter flights became a viable solution to increasingly limited airline capacities for many energy and marine organizations. ATPI’s expert charter team managed this process entirely, assessing the best points to set up a quarantine location or charter origination for multinational crew. ATPI even worked to support special government exception approvals to travel in closed markets.
4. Controlling cost of chartered flights
Charter flights provided a lifeline to many energy organizations who needed to travel throughout the pandemic, but it was important to control the cost of these operations. ATPI became the general sales agent (GSA) for clients to be able sell the
extra seats on their charters to contractors and other offshore and marine workers. This provided viable solutions and reduced the overall expense to the charterer, while providing much needed inventory for other workers into closed markets.
5. Transitioning and adapting to the dynamically changing environment
We continued to stay engaged and provide consultative support for the dynamic changes in the travel marketplace. Communications around markets opening and closing, changes to commercial flight schedules, and the continuous changes and updates to COVID requirements by airlines, destination countries, and connection markets.
Looking to the future:
“Communication and engagement is key”
“The focus for the future, whatever that may hold, is ensuring uninterrupted, efficient and safe travel for our customers,” says Armetta. “It’s imperative that crew arrive at their destination on time and, despite the challenging climate, we’re helping our customers to achieve this.”
“Communication is really the key to continued business operations within the energy sector right now,” Armetta advises. “Sharing new information, being transparent about changes and realistic solutions and also visibility of the entire travel process is what we’ve prioritized throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so in the future.”
“Prior to the pandemic a travel management company was often thought of as just there to book and manage the
act of travel, but the outbreak of Covid-19 has shown the value of a TMC who is there when you need them providing whatever it takes to keep the workers moving safely, even through non-traditional services and support,” explains Armetta. She goes on to recommend that active engagement and nurturing a consultative partnership with an experienced, specialized travel provider should be a top priority for those operating within the marine and energy sectors.
“Seeing your travel provider as a consultant who works on behalf of your organization is a useful way of looking at things in the future. In addition to traditional travel services, energy organizations should now expect their travel provider to be able to support them with outsourcing engagements, charter flight management, consulting and operations projects, project management, communications support, quarantine and accommodation management, and up to date Covid related restrictions and requirement information."
“At ATPI the pandemic has brought us even closer to our customers. We have become an extension of our customers, and we support them as if we are a part of their team.”