Gulf Air Makes Grand Heathrow Return As Bahrain Becomes Amber

With fully-vaccinated travelers from Bahrain to the UK no longer needing to quarantine upon arrival, Gulf Air has officially re-launched its twice-daily departures to London Heathrow. The airline’s acting CEO said he was happy to be once more able to offer more flexibility to passengers between the two countries.

Gulf Air, Boeing 787, Sustainable Aviation Fuels
Gulf Air is operating a twice-daily service to London Heathrow with its Boeing 787-9s. Photo: Getty Images

More flexibility morning and night

Never before have airlines monitored the whims of a single government as closely as after the UK’s installment of the ‘traffic light’ system for international travel. With changes coming into effect on midnight, Sunday, August 8th, Bahrain, along with India, Qatar, and the UAE, were all moved from the ‘red’ to the ‘amber’ section.

The island nation’s flag carrier, Gulf Air, responded to the easing of restrictions by officially resuming its double daily London Heathrow service. The airline’s acting CEO, Captain Waleed Al Alawi, said in a statement that Gulf Air was known for its morning and night flights to the UK capital and that the carrier was happy to bring them back to offer more flexibility to customers.

“London is one of our main destinations in Western Europe, and we’ve been connecting both kingdoms since 1970. It has also been a destination that we maintained scheduled operations to throughout 2020,” Al Alawi continued.

Flights depart from Bahrain International Airport at 02:00 and 10:25 local time, and from London Heathrow at 10:00 and 22:05.

Gulf Air 787
Gulf Air operates seven 787 Dreamliners and has orders for another five. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr

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787-9s at your service

While the official line is that the airline reinstated its twice-daily flights as a response to the updated amber list, when looking closer at radar tracking sites, it appears Gulf Air has been operating flights GF2, GF3, GF6, and GF7 between London and Manama on a daily schedule for quite some time. Perhaps this was a good time for an official re-launch?

In any case, all of Gulf Air’s flights between Bahrain International Airport and London Heathrow are operated by the airline’s Boeing 787-9s. The airline celebrated three years of Dreamliner operations in April this year.

It operates a fleet of seven of the more modern twinjets, replacing the airline’s older Airbus A330s for its widebody services. Furthermore, an additional five are set to join the Bahraini flag carrier fleet before long.

Gulf Air A320neo
Gulf Air has added five new seasonal routes during summer 2021. Photo: Airbus

The airline’s current network

Gulf Air began the summer season operating to 80% of destinations in its 2019 network. The airline currently flies to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait, Riyadh, Dammam, Medina, Muscat, Cairo, Amman, Casablanca, London, Frankfurt, Athens, Paris, Istanbul, Bangkok, Manila, Colombo, the Maldives, and several destinations throughout India and Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the airline just recently reinstated services to Tbilisi and has launched seasonal routes with direct flights to Mykonos, Santorini, Malaga, Alexandria, and Sharm-el-Sheikh.

All of Gulf Air’s crew are fully vaccinated. It is hard to imagine the same line of protests on company vaccination requirements in Bahrain as we have seen when it comes to the US, where the decision of United Airlines to make vaccinations mandatory for staff has sparked significant debate.

Simple Flying has sought Gulf Air or further comment but was yet to receive a response at the time of publication.

Have you ever flown with Gulf Air between Bahrain and London? What was your experience of the service. Leave a comment below and share your story.