Gulf Air wants more

NEW DELHI - Gulf Air, through a partnership starting March 21 with co-owner Oman Air, is looking at improving yields moving further towards its target to recovery promised by its president and chief executive James Hogan, two years ago.

While introduction of flights planned to China this year, have been put on hold, the carrier is getting aggressive in India. Presently it is hoping to get flights to Hyderabad and expand further to satellite cities in India, said Hogan.

Around 20 percent of the airline's revenues come from India.

Hogan was in New Delhi to receive the Airline Turnaround of the Year Award by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA).

“Gulf Air was among only a small group of airlines to have achieved positive growth in 2003 - a year that presented more than its fair share of challenges,” he said.

Hogan added cautiously: “The market in which we operate has become increasingly competitive. However competition is a feature of our business and with the flexibility we have acquired, our stronger financial position and tighter corporate discipline, I believe we can meet the challenges.”

Gulf Air’s nannies on board and chefs in premium class have helped raised its profile. Its all-economy Gulf Traveller that carries budget travellers primarily to South Asia and Indonesia, Hogan said, was running at a 90 percent seat load factor, adding to bottomlines.

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