Gulf Air, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s national carrier, has delivered a strong fiscal and operational performance for the first half of the year, ending June 2014, reducing its year-on-year losses by over 30% and building on the airline’s positive 2013 strategic restructuring results that put the national carrier firmly on-track towards achieving long-term commercial sustainability. The 2014 half year results further strengthen Gulf Air’s position as a key national infrastructure asset that provides essential business links for the Kingdom of Bahrain’s wider economic development.
In the first two quarters of 2014, Gulf Air increased its overall revenue by 10% compared to the same period in 2013. This was realised principally through an enhanced revenue stream that was driven by augmented operations, improved load factors and increased connecting traffic.
H.E. Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of Gulf Air’s Board of Directors commented, “The first two quarters of 2014 have been critical in the national carrier’s recent, post-restructuring development. These positive half year results show that Gulf Air is continuing on a positive trajectory to become an efficient, commercially sustainable business and an integral part of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s local economy.”
With a focus on high-demand and high-yield point-to-point routes that connect Bahraini businesses with regional markets, the first half of 2014 saw Gulf Air continue to strengthen its Middle East and North Africa (MENA) operations while maintaining strategic links to select points in Europe, the Far East, India and Pakistan. During this period the national carrier commenced services to its fifth destination in Pakistan – Sialkot, recommenced flights to the Iranian capital Tehran and the Greek capital Athens. Additionally, the airline increased frequencies to Mashhad to now operate daily flights between Bahrain and the Iranian city.
Recognizing additional capacity opportunities regionally, the airline’s management team also initiated discussions during the first half of 2014 with various Civil Aviation Authorities to request further additional frequencies across its network. The airline’s ongoing network refinement was partially responsible for its strong performance during the first six months of 2014, delivering a seat factor, revenue passenger count and passenger yield that were all improvements on that achieved in the first half of 2013. This was all further supplemented by the airline’s strong on time punctuality results.
H.E Kamal Bin Ahmed, Minister of Transport and Chairman of Gulf Air’s Board Executive Committee, stated, “We are pleased with these strong first half results, which are evidence of the on-going fiscal and operational improvements being made across the business. These early results are fully in line with our expectations as we continue to further strengthen the position of Bahrain’s national carrier. To date, much has been achieved and we look forward to continuing this progress for the rest of 2014.”
Gulf Air’s Board of Directors and executive management team are committed to building upon the successes of the national carrier’s 2013 restructuring. Through process and productivity improvements and procurement savings across the business, the airline has continued to reduce losses in 2014 while increasing revenue as it transforms into a more dynamic and efficient carrier.
Commenting on the half year results, Gulf Air Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Maher Salman AlMusallam said, “The initial benefits from the national carrier’s strategic restructuring were evident in our positive 2013 results and these have translated to significant loss reduction and revenue generation during the first half of 2014. Encouraging summer season bookings confirm the positive trend. Our investment in strengthening our network with the addition of new international destinations occurred within a rising demand environment that also saw us substantially increase our available capacity thanks to schedule enhancements to key routes. The ongoing implementation of the airline’s strategic development is progressing in line with targets, with the full synergy and benefits expected to mature over the coming months. We are looking forward to more positive results in the latter half of 2014 while we continue to deliver a superior product and service offering to our passengers.”
Going forward, and in light of Gulf Air’s positive half year financial and operational results, Bahrain’s national carrier is well positioned to not only address the coming challenges but nurture the airline’s long term future growth. The airline’s 2014 target is to continue on its path towards long-term sustainability, further cutting its losses. This will be achieved through further reducing operational costs, increasing sales efficiency and focusing on customer needs.
With the continued development of synergies between the national carrier’s primary stakeholders – the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain and Bahrain Civil Aviation Authority – Gulf Air is on track to strengthen its position as a key national infrastructure asset supporting Bahrain’s future economic growth and better serving the Kingdom. Bolstered by increasing public support for the airline, rising sales, growing confidence and national pride in the carrier, Gulf Air, anticipates a positive outlook for the remainder of 2014 and into the future.
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