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War in Ukraine impacts on North Sea workers’ travel

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Munro’s Travel, of Aberdeen, has warned the closure of Ukraine airspace will impact on travel plans for North Sea oil and gas crew and other essential workers.

And this could in turn lead to reduced productivity and increased costs for employers, the firm said.

Munro’s managing director Murray Burnett added: “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.”

Murray Burnett.

The situation is compounded by a ban on Russian flights entering UK airspace or touching down on UK soil.

And retaliation from Moscow means all UK flights are now banned from flying over Russia.

Mr Burnett said: “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.

“Our team will be working to rebook these passengers on alternative routes.”

Global airlines are suspending their services to Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport.

Some companies’ human resources teams are also facing the issue of Ukrainian nationals working in other locations who cannot be transported home to Ukraine, he said.

He added: “The logistics of arranging for a crew, which can comprise dozens of workers all based in different countries, to arrive around 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 many workers will be displaced and unable to reach their destination at the expected time.

“This will have knock-on financial impacts on rig and vessel productivity.”

Munro’s fears offshore workers will get caught up in travel chaos.

The number of daily travel alerts Munro’s receives has ramped up significantly since yesterday as governments announce restrictions on Russian flights and airlines make plans to mitigate these.

Mr Burnett said: “The role of passenger tracking tools comes into its own at a time like this.

“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.”

Munro’s, founded in 1903, specialises in energy and marine workers’ global travel.

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