GULF AIR WINS SECOND SUCCESSIVE MENA AWARD
Gulf Air’s continued growth and innovation has once more won praise from customers and the travel industry which voted it the “Best Middle East and North Africa Airline” for a second successive year.
The national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, Sultanate of Oman and Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which last month announced it was back in the black, received the top honour of a platinum award at the MENA awards ceremony on 6 May 2005.
“Our strategy of increasing passenger numbers and revenues through world-class product and service delivery, coupled with tight cost control management, has changed the Gulf Air business beyond all recognition,” said Mahfood Ali Al Harthy, Regional General Manager Gulf. “We now have a business built on a sustainable commercial platform, which it has been demonstrated, can compete with – and win against – the very best in the world.
“We are delighted that our progress has been recognised in the form of a second successive MENA Award and on behalf of everyone in Gulf Air I would like to thank those who either nominated or voted for us.”
Two years on from the start of its restructuring programme, Gulf Air’s innovation and excellence is being noticed throughout the region. Central to its transformation is a strategic focus on sales and marketing, yield management, improved services, and a restructured fleet and network with a view to delivering superior customer service and creating a truly world class airline.
Ahead of schedule and facing some of the greatest challenges in the history of aviation, Gulf Air has achieved profitability just two years into the journey of change it started when the Board approved Project Falcon, the airline’s three-year plan which gave management a mandate to create a commercially viable world-class airline.
“We are enjoying a new position of strength and energy, which has won us respect in a wide range of industry sectors,” said Mr Al Harthy. ”We have regained the confidence of financiers and business partners; we have become partners of choice for alliance partners and changed customer perception with improved service and innovative products. And it is not going to stop there.”
Inspired by its legendary ‘Five-star Tri-Star’ service of the late 1970’s and 80’s, Gulf Air is set to re-create the golden-age of travel with the introduction in 2005 of completely new seating, furnishing and service in its First and Business Class cabins.
The fleet of refurbished Airbus A330s will allow customers to enjoy a host of benefits, the likes of which have never been experienced on commercial aircraft before.
“As we move into the next stage of our growth strategy, we are acutely aware that what really sets apart airlines today is service and comfort. What we are now offering is new, unique and extraordinary,” concluded Mr Al Harthy. “Two decades ago, the Gulf Air Five-Star Tri-Star service was renowned throughout the world, and we are now set to re-create that golden age of travel through this refurbishment. We also hope that it will contribute to us perhaps picking up a third successive MENA Award this time next year!”
Gulf Air was founded in 1950. Today, it is owned by the Kingdom of Bahrain, Oman and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and is the only truly pan Gulf carrier in the region. The airline’s network stretches from Europe to Asia and covers 44 cities in 30 countries. The fleet is one of the most modern in the Middle East and comprises 34 aircraft.
The airline is in the last year of a three-year strategic recovery programme, headed by President and Chief Executive, James Hogan. The airline, which is making rapid strides towards regaining profitability in 2005, aims to further evolve by taking its renowned cultural strengths, which have been gained over more than half a century, into a global environment.
The dramatic turnaround in Gulf Air’s fortunes has won international recognition. In January 2004, The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) presented the airline with the prestigious Airline Turnaround of the Year Award for 2003. Gulf Air was also the recipient of the 2003 Platinum Award for the Best Airline in the Middle East and North Africa, recognising the airline’s commitment to service excellence.