TMCs do well in meeting travel needs for offshore heavy industries

An offshore oil rig in Rio de Janeiro pictured

Heavy industry corporate travel buyers and a specialist TMC reveal that the increased use of charters is helping to meet airlift needs by repatriating employees in marine, oil and infrastructure projects affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Peter Muller, international board director, ATPI, a specialist TMC and worldwide charter operator, said the agency was harnessing charter opportunities in the offshore and marine industries.

TMCs for heavy industries had to come up with creative workarounds travel restrictions during the pandemic; an offshore oil rig in Rio de Janeiro pictured

Muller added that apart from more charters being mounted in Australia and a number of areas around the world, some flights saw different companies sharing capacity to cut cost.

Glencore, a multinational commodity trading and mining company, has been putting on more charters, and to address the concern for and commitment to arrival destinations, nurses at departure points and temperature taking of travellers were put in place, according to Paul Littman, its regional procurement coordinator.

Sometimes, TMCs had to get creative to work out a destination’s travel restrictions.

Muller shared: “There was an opportunity to put people on rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, but there was the question of the 14-day quarantine. So we put them on a cruise ship then sent them by helicopter to the rig and back.”

Broadspectrum, an infrastructure maintenance services company, could not have done it without its TMC, which had to repatriate 40 crew onboard the Diamond Princess stuck in Tokyo back to Australia, John Browne, general manager category services, shared.

Littman added: “Our travellers can fly to Brazil, so what we want (from our TMC) is the current state of regulations, where we can and cannot travel to and how to track our people,” he said.

A more fundamental question for Glencore, which is switching to a new TMC, is if the “dedicated team at tender” would remain intact and what are its future investments when all businesses are facing cash constraints, Littman commented.

A Corporate Travel Community (CTC) online poll on how adaptive and proactive TMCs were in meeting corporate travel needs throughout the Covid-19 crisis showed encouraging results.

Almost half (48.4 per cent) of respondents said their TMC was “very supportive with current bookings and discussion of future options”, while 44.1 per cent said their TMC was “very supportive in every aspect, with a high level of contact and solutions for future travel”.

According to Muller, GDS projections show 2019 corporate travel levels might only return in 2022/23 and would still be 10 per cent down, and moving forward, TMCs would be in the management of continual change.

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