Global aviation downturn hits Gulf Air
Gulf Air announced Sunday, October 21, that it is downsizing its operations in an attempt to survive the global downturn in the aviation industry, reported Al-Ittihad.
The national carrier of Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar has already reduced operations by 15 percent on October 1, to “safeguard the long-term health" of the airline. Chief Executive of Gulf Air Ibrahim Al-Hamer said the cutbacks would remain in force "for the time being".
Gulf Air has suffered a 20 percent decrease in passenger volume and a 10.4 percent drop in its cargo shipments this month. Consequently, the airline decided to downsize from 30 aircraft to 26 aircraft for 2002. In addition, the airline is suspending services to Fujairah and Ras Al-Khaimah in the UAE, a total of six weekly cancellations.
One hundred employees have already accepted early retirement packages and more will be encouraged to do so in the near future, a Gulf Air representative said. More than 70 senior staff have agreed to a five percent voluntary pay cut, as the airline faces "unprecedented difficulties."
On a positive note, Gulf Air is resuming limited service to Colombo, Sri Lanka this week. It will operate four weekly round-trip flights between the Gulf and Colombo. Two of the outbound flights will originate from Bahrain, one from Abu Dhabi and one from Dubai.
The airline was one of six Gulf-based carriers that suspended services to Sri Lanka on September 18, due to an increase in cost of insuring aircraft and their passengers. — (Mena Report)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)
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