By Scott Wright
THE extensive flight cancellations currently blighting the aviation sector as it emerges from the pandemic are putting key industries in Scotland under pressure, a long-established travel agent has claimed.
Murray Burnett, managing director of Aberdeen-based Munro’s Travel, said cancellations by major airlines such as British Airways are impacting essential work in the oil and gas, renewables and marine sectors.
Mr Burnett, whose firm arranges global travel for essential workers, said that the impact of the current upheaval goes beyond inconvenience for individual travellers.
“The impact of the multiple flight cancellations has been felt across our entire business and has caused huge disruption and additional costs to our clients," he said. "But the real impact for the energy and marine sectors is in interruptions to crew rotations and any down time which is caused by the unexpected last-minute cancellations of flights. On Wednesday alone British Airways cancelled flights from Heathrow to destinations including Frankfurt, Paris, Oslo, Hamburg, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
“Hundreds more flights have been cancelled in recent days and it is expected that the disruption will continue. This is seriously interrupting scheduled offshore crew rotations plus the cancellations have delayed crew members returning from family holidays which has resulted in some crew missing their planned rotation offshore.”
Mr Burnett added that the ongoing costs are not the only concern for these sectors.
“Energy and marine businesses rely on international crews all arriving at one place at the same time ready to relieve their colleagues, which is at the best of times a logistical plate-spinning exercise,” he said.
“When there are significant numbers of last-minute cancellations and potentially long airport delays, it’s very difficult for a business to keep track of where all its employees are located at any given time. They also need a way to send complex, reworked itineraries to groups of travellers all heading to the same destination but from all four corners of the world. This is a serious consideration for the firm’s duty of care to employees.”