September 2014, Issue: 9 Volume: 32

Aviation

Gulf Air places focus on IT development
TTN Yearbook 20128

Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, was recognised for its achievements in information technology at the CIO 50 Awards and Forum 2012 and was amongst the top 50 organisations and their IT heads that were honoured for their innovative usage, development and implementation of information technology to deliver business value. Samer Majali, CEO, Gulf Air, said: “Globally, information technology is integral to facilitating business, positively and directly impacting customers. Gulf Air endeavors to always remain on the cusp of IT developments, ensuring that we always offer the best in class in our operations, product and service. At Gulf Air we have been proactive in addressing the changing needs of customers and the industry by embracing and implementing technological advancements.”

Last year the airline took delivery of its first A330-200 aircraft retrofitted with Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s (Panasonic) Global Communications Suite. The comprehensive communications and entertainment solution, ‘Sky Hub’, offers passengers onboard full broadband connectivity to access internet, mobile phone services and, for the first time in the world, a global, live television service onboard. The Panasonic’s Global Communications Suite is being installed across Gulf Air’s entire fleet of aircraft progressively.

Majali… proactive approach

The airline also announced the signing of a financial facility of $80 million (Dh293.82 million) for the airline from Mashreq Bahrain. The facility will help Gulf Air meet its medium-term working capital requirements.

“Gulf Air is focused on ensuring a sustainable and financially viable future, and we thank Mashreq Bahrain for leading this facility, reflecting a commitment to a long-term strategic partnership which we look forward to building upon,” Majali said.

In a major cost-cutting measure, Gulf Air announced the closure of four of its under performing routes – Damascus (Syria), Athens (Greece), Milan (Italy) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). Majali said this decision has been taken to allow the airline to use its fleet and resources in the most efficient way by concentrating on high-demand, high-yield routes to ensure that its core customer base is served effectively.

Majali added that it was currently a challenging business environment for airlines around the world. “Our commercial strategy, developed in 2009, delivered significant gains in 2010 but 2011 has been challenging. Therefore, we are now adapting our approach to address the challenges on an urgent basis.”

The move comes as the airline seeks to address the economic challenges faced in recent times; in particular, the local and regional political situation, the high price of fuel and low passenger numbers, said Gulf Air in its statement.