Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Gulf Air to become a boutique carrier


Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, has revealed its business plans for 2019 at a special conference held in the Wyndham Grand Hotel in Bahrain Bay and was attended by the airline’s Chairman, Executive Management, station managers from the airline’s network, Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA), Bahrain Airport Company and Gulf Air Group on Sunday 6th January.

As part of the airlines commitment to strengthen its position as a national asset to the economic growth of the Kingdom and in line with its 55-year strategy to become a customer airline of choice, Gulf Air announced its new boutique business model concept which will reinforce its focus on product and customer experience.  

As already done in the hospitality industry, Gulf Air will differentiate itself as a boutique airline that is different and unique in the way it operates comparing to the bigger airlines that are more volume driven. This approach will give the airline a competitive advantage that will translate in its new fleet, new Falcon Gold class offering, new exclusive products, new destinations for 2019 and its presence in the new terminal at Bahrain International Airport due to open towards the end of the year.


 


Gulf Air’s Chairman of Board of Directors Mr Zayed R. Alzayani said: “This is an even more exciting year for Gulf Air as we continue our efforts and plans to portray the airline as a solid national asset that serves the Kingdom of Bahrain and yet caters to an international audience. Today we announced our boutique concept, which will see the airline adopt a new business model to shine amongst the competitors in our own unique way. Working hand in hand with Gulf Air Group, BTEA and BAC with the launch of the new terminal, will allow the new Gulf Air to represent Bahrain to the world and open more bridges to and from the island”.

The event included topic-specific workshops highlighting the main business units of the airline and a number of sessions were conducted to communicate business objectives, projects, and expansion plans of 2019.

In 2018, Gulf Air announced its new 5-year strategy, which began with the delivery of 5 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner’s and 1 Airbus 320neo as well as opening 6 new destinations: Alexandria and Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, Baku in Azerbaijan, Casablanca in Morocco and Bangalore and Calicut in India. The airline deployed its latest state-of-the-art Dreamliner’s to London Heathrow, Casablanca, Bangkok and recently to Manila - a step that was appraised by its loyal and new customers alike. The new livery and brand identity were also launched in 2018 - at the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix – that included all new logo, colour pallets, uniforms, cabin definition and refreshed look and feel.

The airline concluded 2018 with 2 exciting projects: the launch of a mobile app and the launch of “The Bahrain Stopover” which allows passengers to stop and spend a number of nights on the island including hotels, airport transfers and tours while transiting in Bahrain before continuing to their final destination.

With the new business model concept, Gulf Air aims to grow strategically in size and will expand to more boutique destinations in 2019 and continue its fleet modernization programme by receiving additional 2 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner’s and 5 Airbus A320neos this year.   

It is hard to see how becoming a more boutique operation will greatly enhance the carriers financial state, however, generally speaking, the more boutique the airline, the better the service and the more enjoyable the in-flight experience. With the new aircraft that Gulf Air has on order and the more proactive way, the carrier is approaching good service could prove to be perfectly suited to the boutique model. Yet, even as a successful boutique airline, Gulf Air will have to work hard to more than just cover its costs.

(Images Gulf Air)
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