Gulf Air, Bahrain’s national carrier, will add Singapore as a new destination in its network by starting a weekly flight in April. The new route will be operated by the airline’s flagship Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner as the airline positions to offer a boutique service from the new terminal at Bahrain’s airport.
Singapore will not be the airline’s first destination in Asia as it already operates routes to Bangkok, Manila, and multiple destinations in India. Although the route is being considered new for the airline, it has actually flown the same route before. Gulf Air operated flights to Singapore throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. However, it stopped operating the route in 2008.
By reviving the route, the airline hopes to add greater connectivity between Europe and Asia through the gulf states. According to the airline’s website, it believes this new route will quickly become one of its top long-haul routes as travel demand returns over the coming months.
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A luxury experience
Anyone traveling on this new route will experience Gulf Air’s full boutique experience. The airline recently moved into a brand-new terminal at Bahrain’s International Airport, which is prepared to welcome 14 million passengers every year. The terminal has a range of modern facilities and features to make traveling as enjoyable as possible.
Upon leaving Bahrain’s fancy new terminal, passengers will be traveling on the airline’s flagship Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which offers 26 Falcon Gold Class seats. The environmentally-friendly, fuel-efficient jet is also designed for comfort with large windows and overhead bins, LED lighting, and counter-turbulence technology. Whether traveling for business or leisure, the new Gulf Air route is set to be a rather luxurious experience.
Competing with other Middle Eastern carriers
Middle Eastern carriers have always faced strong competition with neighbors. Historically the big three Middle Eastern carriers were always Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways. Now, Gulf Air is positioning to turn the big three into the big four.
A few years ago, in 2018, the airline was struggling financially and laid off staff to cut costs. According to financial statements, the airline made annual losses every year since at least 2011. However, it seems to be making ground on turning this around.
The fleet modernization plan alongside the new airport terminal means that although the airline still cannot compete against the big three in terms of the size of its operations, it can certainly offer a comparable experience. The airline is branding itself as a boutique airline. With fewer planes and fewer destinations, it doesn’t have the network and numbers to compete with its neighbors. However, the fleet modernization and new terminal are appealing to many travelers.
And the airline is slowly growing its network. It started flights to Delhi last September and signed codeshare agreements with El Al in Israel and Etihad. Although the airline has recently sought to delay taking delivery of new aircraft, it still looks like Gulf Air has big plans for the next few years.
What do you think of Gulf Air’s growing fleet and network? Will the airline be able to turn a profit soon and compete with its neighboring airlines? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.