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Photo: Vestas Wind Systems

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“It is important for us that our people are able to travel”

Vestas is an industry leader in sustainable energy solutions and its employees travel all over the world. Pia Kirk Jensen, Global Travel Manager, explains more about the importance of air travel and why they chose SAS.

Vestas designs, manufactures, installs and services wind turbines. They are an industry leader in sustainable energy solutions and their wind turbines operate all over the world. This means that their employees travel around the globe too. Covid-19 has changed things, but travel is still important even during a pandemic, albeit to a lesser extent than before. Now, as the world begins to open up again, the number of journeys is also beginning to rise.  

Why is travel important to you and why can’t you use digital meetings instead?
We are a project-based company that installs and services wind turbines all over the world. So it is important for us that our people are able to travel – this is not the kind of work you can do using Teams. That is why our employees are traveling even now, during the pandemic, although only about 35% of the normal amount. We have replaced many of our meetings with Teams meetings, and travel does require special permission, but we are a global business with fitters, specialists and salespeople who need to travel.

Are there any regions where digital meetings work better than physical ones? 
No, we are a global operation – in my team alone I have people from the US, Spain, China and India. We have time differences to deal with, of course, but you can always find a way round that in these flexible times. 

Pia Kirk Jensen, Global Travel Manager

How has travel changed for you? 
Our travel has changed a lot because of the various restrictions. We follow developments closely and implement the measures necessary for our employees to travel both effectively and safely. 

What has been the biggest challenge? 
The biggest challenge has been obtaining the right information about quarantine requirements, rules, what documents you need to bring, testing and so on. Travel restrictions vary and there is constant change and uncertainty. In the past, you knew that if you had booked something, it would happen. Now there is much more uncertainty about whether you will be able to go at all. Although we are traveling about 50% of what we are used to, it takes at least as long because of all these changes. We have an online booking system and a dedicated team providing help and advice. 

What I myself find most difficult is managing virtually over a long period. You miss the personal touch and I am pleased that we can now meet in person again. It feels fantastic to go out into the world again and meet colleagues, staff and suppliers.

What are the main destinations you travel to? 
Domestically within India, Trondheim, Stockholm, Porto, Madrid, domestically within Australia, and the US. We have factories in Denver and our sales and administrative organization is in Portland. 

What are your current plans for travel?
We have lots of good orders, so things are busy. Vestas is expanding and although we hold many digital meetings, our business requires us to meet people and carry out work locally on site. 

Have your employees said that they have started to miss traveling?
Some staff have a greater need for travel than others and they are keen to go to other countries, provided it is safe there. SAS is good at providing information, so you feel safe, both at check-in and boarding. Everyone feels they are well looked after and taken care of when they travel with SAS. So we prefer to fly with SAS wherever possible.

What influence does SAS’ focus on sustainability have on your choice of airline?
During Covid-19, we have mainly been concerned with which airlines have been operating the routes we need. In the future, however, the issue of sustainability will play an increasingly decisive role. 

Where are you dreaming of traveling when you fly next? 
For travel on business, I would love to meet up again with the team in Spain, China, India and the US. Traveling outside work, I’d like to go to Italy or Greece. 

With over 40 years of experience in the wind turbine industry, Vestas Wind Systems A/S is one of the world’s leading wind energy companies. To date, Vestas has installed more than 74,000 wind turbines in 82 different countries worldwide. 
vestas.com

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