The Volanteus team was proud to support a range of sports teams flying to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for a recent International sports event. However, much like every charter presently, it was not without its challenges.
With the charter confirmed at a week's notice, the team quickly engaged with Government authorities to secure landing permissions as well as working closely with Airport management to achieve the desired arrival and departure slots for the teams. After much negotiation, the landing permits and preferred slots times were secured with days to spare. As anyone in the industry would agree, each and every charter since the outbreak of the pandemic requires a higher degree of oversight and management, however what happened prior to the return flight was remarkable…
…On the Saturday night, news broke of disturbances in the Riyadh vicinity and to the South of the Country. And this is when Volanteus kicked into gear….
As news broke, the Volanteus team started discussions about the potential ramifications to their client. It was determined both locally, with our representative in Riyadh, and with our Ops team back in the UK that a full airspace closure of Saudi Arabia was likely and so we began to engage with the airline and client to work on a contingency plan. As it turned out, the airspace closure was confirmed a few hours later.
Thankfully, Volanteus had experienced staff member Paul Todhunter in Riyadh to manage the situation, as well as the support of the Operations team back in the UK, who were closely monitoring developments and in constant communication with the airline and KSA authorities.
Working closely with the client on the ground, Paul was able to proactively manage the situation despite the chaos which ensued, including delaying the passenger's arrival at the airport. As news of the impending air space re-opening began to surface, our Operations team relayed the information to the airline so that the aircraft and crew were ready to position from nearby Egypt once approved for take-off. As the airspace opened and the morning's backlog of departures began to operate, Paul was able to coordinate with the airport authorities to prioritise the handling of our charter to minimise the impact on the teams. The outcome was a mere 90-minute delay to our flight departing ahead of the backlog of departures from earlier in the day. This ensured the teams arrived home to Germany by mid afternoon and consequently none of the passengers missed their onward connections that day. A success for all involved!
This was a prime example of the importance we place not only on precision planning and execution of our charters, but on having a presence at every flight we perform. Without Paul on the ground in Riyadh, supported by the team in HQ, the comfort and experience of our passengers would have been compromised, thankfully this was not the case and we could proactively manage the situation with the client, ensuring we excelled once again in the face of adversity!
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