Gulf Air soars towards new heights

July 22, 2011

Karim Makhlouf

Gulf Air, Bahrain’s flagship carrier, has unveiled a range of new products, services and incentive packages in a bid to grow its home market share to 50 per cent, raise its load factor to 78 per cent within 18 months from the 2010 level of 72 per cent and return to profitability within three years.

“The national carrier is all set to expand its customer base and increase its revenue by introducing a range of new products, services and incentive packages for key customer segments while strengthening its home market share,” Karim Makhlouf, Gulf Air’s Chief Commercial Officer, said.

“Since the launch of the airline’s new business strategy in November 2009 by Chief Executive Officer Samer Majali, we have made some notable progress. We added 15 new destinations to our network, discontinued four unviable routes, brought in 14 new aircraft, improved our on-time performance by seven per cent and achieved a fleet technical dispatch reliability of 98.9 per cent,” he told a press conference to announce the launch of the new initiatives.

Shift in focus

Gulf Air believes that the focus now should be on its customers’ needs and on increasing its commercial efficiency through aggressive sales and marketing in order to turn into a sustainable and, ultimately, a profitable airline.

“We conducted an extensive survey to understand our customers’ needs and more importantly, how to win back their business. We realised that our market share in Bahrain is just 32 per cent, the lowest compared to our regional competitors. At the same time, competition has increased with more and more new airlines including low-cost carriers entering the market eating into our customer base and thus, our market share,” he said.

Competitive packages

“As the national carrier of Bahrain, it is imperative that we own our home market. Therefore, we have launched a series of customer-focused initiatives to regain our market share. These new initiatives have been designed to target every customer segment — family, business, government, pensioners and the youth,” he said.

For families, Gulf Air will be introducing ‘Family First’ — a series of competitively priced packages for customers travelling with their spouses and kids, offering special privileges both on the ground and in the air.

For the corporate business segment, Gulf Air will be introducing Falcon Corporate Plus — one of the region’s most competitive innovative incentive programmes yet — designed exclusively for corporate travellers.

The Falcon Corporate Plus programme offers a basket of different exclusive privileges that can be tailor-made for each client.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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