Gulf Air and Turkish Airlines latest to partner; ‘more to come’

October 5, 2017 7:00 am


Two days after Emirates Airlines and flydubai announced their partnership on a codeshare agreement, Gulf Air and Turkish Airlines signed theirs.

Expect more to happen.

“I wouldn’t say the industry is in trouble per se, however, it’s evident that airlines like Turkish are paring back excess capacity and opting for codeshares as a way to remove direct competition and help boost fares where routes overlap,”  Saj Ahmad, founder and chief analyst for StrategicAero Research, a private intelligence and analysis resource for the aerospace, airline and aviation industries, told AMEinfo.

“Years of overzealous buying of airplanes to meet demand has meant everyone is chasing the same traffic and to capture it, fares have plummeted. So we’ll probably see more, not less, in the way of these sorts of codeshares in an attempt to de-risk their exposure to price sensitive markets where customers nearly always opt for low prices,” Ahmad added.

The current agreement

In a statement released October 4th, 2017, Gulf Air, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s national carrier, and Turkish Airlines, Turkey’s national air carrier, signed a codeshare agreement that will be effective from November 1.

Gulf Air and Turkish Airlines each operate one daily flight between Bahrain and Istanbul.

“The agreement will expand passengers’ travel opportunities with jointly operated double daily flights between Bahrain and Istanbul.

Read: Online travel leader wego attracts Dubai venture capital

“This new codeshare agreement will be broadening the commercial partnership between the two companies and their respective countries while giving passengers of both airlines more travel options between Bahrain and Turkey,” said the statement

Gulf Air’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Captain Waleed Abdul Hameed Al Alawi, said: “Gulf Air passengers can now connect to a range of destinations through this codeshare by both airlines, providing them with greater choice, convenience and a seamless travel experience.”

Read: UAE tourism and travel spending to exceed $56 bn by 2022

Seamless is something to be seen.

AMEinfo recently wrote an article where it questioned this very issue of the lower fare airline in the deal faced with a struggle to match levels of comfort and luxury that the larger carrier offers, or other issues like misplaced baggage, being at wrong terminals and so on.

Turkish Airlines’ Deputy Chairman and CEO, Bilal Ekşi said; “We believe that this partnership with Gulf Air will bring a remarkable benefit to both airlines from a commercial perspective in rapidly growing relations between our countries.”

Ekşi expressed hope this agreement will allow Turkish Airlines to win more passengers in the region.

AMEinfo approached Turkish Air representatives for various opinions on this deal, but no comments as of this article’s publishing date and time were forthcoming.

One key issue is whether this was a cost cutting affair disguised in glittery statements about how great a deal it is.

AMEinfo, in its “Will flydubai deal save Emirates Airline’s plummeting profits?” alluded to the fact the deeper assimilation across partnering airlines will drive down costs and allow them to better hedge against other external costs, such as fuel and ground services.

Read: Will flydubai deal save Emirates Airline’s plummeting profits?

It potentially removes direct competition for both airlines on routes.

A successful match?

Turkish Airlines is a four-star airline with a fleet of five aircraft, but part of Star Alliance which boasts Air Canada, Air China, Lufthansa and others and whose combined fleet passenger and cargo aircraft reaches 328 flying to 300 destinations worldwide.

Read: Emirates to add a forth Sydney flight

According to the 2017 Skytrax survey, Turkish Airlines is an award-winning airline where between 2011 and 2016 it won “Best Airline in Europe” and for nine consecutive years chosen as the “Best Airline in Southern Europe”

Gulf Air, meanwhile, is the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain and a major international carrier serving 42 cities in 25 countries spanning three continents. It boasts 28 aircraft, with orders for 39 new Boeing and Airbus aircraft due for delivery in early 2018.

 

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By Hadi Khatib
Hadi Khatib is a business editor with more than 15 years' experience delivering news and copy of relevance to a wide range of audiences. If newsworthy and actionable, you will find this editor interested in hearing about your sector developments and writing about it.



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