Gulf Air Conducts Flyover In Bahrain To Celebrate The Formula 1 Season Opener

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It almost seems like a well-established necessity these days – Gulf carriers sponsoring sporting events. From football clubs to golf tournaments to Formula 1 races, airline logos can be found everywhere. Gulf Air’s sponsorship of the Bahrain Grand Prix continues the trend and. as is customary with such sponsorships, the airline conducted a flyover at the season opener event, which took place on March 28th.

A Gulf Air Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is seen flying over the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir. This particular photo is of the November 2020 event. Photo: Getty Images

“[The Boeing 787-9s] boast superior fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, consuming 20% less fuel and producing around 20% fewer emissions than the aircraft they replaced in Gulf Air’s previous fleet. Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel™ provides an immediate solution for reducing the carbon emissions of flying. In neat form and over the life cycle, its use results in up to 80%*lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil jet fuel.” -Gulf Air

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A “lower emission flypast”

Gulf Air announced via a March 28th statement that it would be conducting a “lower emission flypast” at the 2021 Formula 1 season opener at the Bahrain International Circuit. The reason for labeling it a “lower emission” is that this flypast was conducted with the more efficient twinjet Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fueled by Neste-brand Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

While it would certainly consume more fuel than one of the carrier’s new narrowbodies, this label of being ‘low emission’ looks to be a point the airline wants to make in its marketing messaging. We’ll certainly grant them the fact that using a 787-9 to conduct a flyover would produce far fewer emissions than Etihad’s Airbus A380 flyovers made at Abu Dhabi Formula 1 races over the past few years.

Performing 787 flyovers as early as 2018

Gulf Air notes that it unveiled its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner at the 2018 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix. It has essentially flown the Dreamliner at every Bahrain F1 Grand Prix event since then – with a flyover in April 2019, November 2020, and now March 2021.

2021 is different from years past in one special way, however. This year’s use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel makes a statement regarding the airline’s commitment to lowering its emissions and working towards a more sustainable future, as noted by the airline’s Acting CEO:

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“Each year, Gulf Air takes great pride in being the title sponsor of the Formula 1 race at the Bahrain International Circuit. This year, we will mark the beginning of the race with a truly special low emission flypast highlighting our future strategy to explore the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel in our aircraft and standing by our commitment to lower our carbon emissions.” -Captain Waleed AlAlawi, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Gulf Air

Its initiatives like these that will hopefully set the standard for commercial aviation in terms of choosing fuel. A low-altitude flypast is an amazing sight to see – made better with the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

Have you been to an event where a commercial airline conducted a flyover? Please share your experience with us by leaving a comment.

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