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Flight Restrictions due to COVID-19 | ATPI successfully repatriates 50 shipping crew members on one scheduled flight

Crew change has always been a challenging task for the Marine and Energy industry.

During these unprecedented times crew travel has become more challenging than ever. Arranging travel for personnel from all over the world requires careful consideration and proactive thinking. Over the last few months the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in borders closing and the near shut down of all forms of transportation. Managing crew changes became very different, but our approach remained the same, and that was ensuring we got our clients from A to B safely.

The daily announcements of airlines and countries applying travel restrictions without notice, the fear of people being trapped in a foreign country and others struggling to get to their hometowns or place of work created real concern and uncertainty. With a legacy that has seen us weather turbulent times in the past, ATPI Marine & Energy remained committed to supporting our clients, as well as anyone else that may have required support during these difficult times, and made it a priority to get travellers to where they needed to be.

ATPI in action

On Saturday the 6th of June 2020, ATPI Marine & Energy supported the transfer of 50 sea workers from Amsterdam to Manila on a KLM flight (out of the 150 allowed in total). Manila is one of the key locations in the industry, therefore the request for flights was extremely overwhelming. The numbers were not on our side, countless personnel were already on hold to fly to Manila from all over the globe and there was just one flight scheduled per week that could transfer them.  

Travel itineraries in these uncertain times are often impacted  by unexpected changes and even last minute cancellations. Seafarers from various airports had been transferred to Amsterdam to take this flight to Manila, which also included a stopover in Bangkok.  

A few hours prior to takeoff, we received a message from a passenger advising that authorities would not allow landing in Bangkok due to unforeseen circumstances. Everything was in danger of being cancelled! The ATPI team who were working over that weekend were immediately alerted, they joined forces to verify flight status and explored alternative routes and scenarios so that there was a back up plan in place.

Team work and forward thinking is crucial when working under pressure to help arrange the most challenging of crew changes, communication was key here and the team remained in  contact with the shipping company, the seafarers at the airport, the airline offices both in origin and destination until they received the following message “all passengers checked in”.  Lena who works in ATPI operations stated “We almost started dancing in the office that morning, it was such a relief and we were delighted for all the passengers”.

The final outcome

Setbacks can occur, however working as a team and communicating effectively allowed us to successfully manage the most difficult of tasks. Even with the odds against us, ATPI Marine & Energy successfully managed the repatriation of 50 seafarers.

"Once again, ATPI proved its status in the TMC industry, managing this difficult case, bringing relief to those seamen and resolving the concerns of the shipping and energy companies involved. Many thanks to all KLM involved staff for their assistance in securing the flight will be finally operated despite all last minute odds". Nikos Gazelidis, Global Head of Shipping at ATPI.