The flag carrying airline of Bahrain, Gulf Air, is hoping to start flying nonstop to the US within the next two to three years. CEO of Gulf Air, Kresimir Kucko says the airline is aiming to beat the competition on quality and service and is working to build partnerships worldwide to help the carrier expand.
Bahrain’s flag carrying airline, Gulf Air, is keen to start flying to the US in the coming years. We say ‘start’, but actually it’s more of a resumption, as they previously served Houston and New York nonstop from Manama, Bahrain.
CEO of Gulf Air, Kresimir Kucko, is quoted by Arabian Business as saying:
“We will be operating in the coming years more in Europe and also the Far East. Hopefully, in the coming two, maximum three years, we would be able to open flights to the US,”
The airline already codeshares with American Airlines and is reportedly looking to forge additional partnerships to help their penetration into the US. They’ll almost certainly be offering the service with their 787-9 Dreamliners, complete with stunning business class suites.
Competition for the Middle East three?
Although they’re looking to expand their services, they aren’t attempting to go head to head with the might of the Middle East three. According to a report by Bloomberg, they want to become the region’s ‘boutique airline’.
As such they’ve been talking over partnerships and codesharing arrangements with Etihad as well as airlines in the US and India. Vincent Coste, the airline’s chief commercial officer, is quoted as saying:
“The scope of a partnership with Etihad can include domains in which we might find strengths,”
The airline’s CEO has described their mission as a quality focused enterprise. They know they can’t compete on scale or price with their more established neighbors, so instead are looking to exceed them in customer satisfaction. Kucko is quoted by View From The Wing as saying:
“You can’t compete with airlines that are bigger in size, volume or with prices. You can only compete in quality … I can compete with any airline, no matter the size, with the quality of my product. That’s the battle I willingly participate with a chance to win,”
As part of their expansion plans, Gulf Air are opening a new, luxury terminal at Bahrain International Airport later in the year, complete with a rumored game changing premium lounge.
Who are Gulf Air?
The flag carrying airline of Bahrain, Gulf Air are headquartered in Muharraq, next door to the Bahrain International Airport. According to Wikipedia, they operate flights to 50 destinations across 28 countries in Africa, Europe and Asia.
Back in the days before the Middle East three really rose to take over the region, Gulf Air were one of the biggest and most widely spread airlines in the region. However, stiff competition from the likes of Emirates and Qatar have seen them somewhat sidelined in the last couple of decades.
The political unrest in Bahrain in 2011 meant the airline lost the equivalent of $250m, growing to $520m in 2012. This was almost the end for Gulf Air; their planes were outdated, and they didn’t have the partnerships or route network to stay competitive.
After several years of struggles, however, the airline is undergoing something of a rejuvenation. In 2013, a turnaround plan was put in place to save the carrier. This led to an 88% reduction in debt by 2015, with the reported debt that year standing at just $63.9m.
Thanks to profitability returning, they were able to start looking at improvements to fleet and service. At the Bahrain Airshow in 2016, Gulf Air ordered 17 A321neos and 12 A320neos, which began to be delivered in June 2018. They also ordered 16 787-9 Dreamliners from Boeing.
Today, the airline has two of their 10 A320neos in service, and six of their Dreamliners. Deliveries on both began in 2018. They are expecting the 321neos and LRs to begin delivering in 2020.
What can we expect from Gulf Air?
Although three years sounds a long way off, it’s good to know what’s in store for the future. With Gulf Air, we presume they’ll be using their 787-9s for routes to the US, all of which feature a stunning business class product, known as the Apex Suite.
The business class (Falcon Gold) cabin is laid out in a 2-2-2 configuration, with 26 lie flat seats that look simply amazing. Seat pitch is 80 – 89 inches, there’s a 22 inch entertainment screen and a privacy panel too.
Travelers in Falcon Gold also get the services of a Sky Chef, which Gulf Air promise will offer a fine dining experience to rival any restaurant.
In economy, it’s a 3-3-3 configuration with a total of 256 seats. Economy seats have a pitch of 32 inches. All seats have an 11.6 inch touchscreen monitor as well as USB ports and in seat power supply.
You can check out the interior design on these beauties in the video below:
In addition to gorgeous cabins, travelers on Gulf Air can enjoy the services of a Sky Nanny for their little ones. These specially trained personnel are available from the gate onwards, entertaining the kids and seeing to their needs as well as offering specialist advice such as how to clear their ears or calm them during the flight.
Here at Simple Flying, we can’t wait to take some trips in that swish looking business class cabin. Would you travel with Gulf Air in the future?