Growth in passenger volumes driving expansion in Bahrain

August 31, 2014 4:16 pm

A new report on Bahrain will take a look at the impact of rapid expansion in the airline sector across the Middle East, with particular emphasis on how this growth will play out in Bahrain.

Research for The Report: Bahrain 2014 is currently underway by Oxford Business Group (OBG), the global publishing, research and consultancy firm. This 10th anniversary edition of the group’s Bahrain reporting will feature interviews with Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Minister of Finance and Minister in Charge of Oil and Gas Affairs and Kamal bin Ahmed, Acting Chief Executive of the Economic Development Board, among others.

Whilst the publication contains coverage on all sectors of the Kingdom’s economy from the perspective of the foreign investor, transport and related infrastructure are a central focus of The Report: Bahrain 2014. The group recently met with Maher Salman Al Musallam, Gulf Air’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, who discussed the impact that regional airline sector growth is having on the Bahraini aviation sector. In an interview to be published in The Report: Bahrain 2014 Mr. Al Musallam speaks of the challenges presented by the break-neck competition in the region’s aviation sector: “In the context of a power struggle between regional carriers and continually growing airspace congestion, operational changes encouraging efficiency are essential “. The report looks into how Gulf Air has risen to these challenges.

However, with GCC airports forecast to be handling 250m passengers by 2020 and overall passenger growth expected to go up by 5.2% in the Middle East, according to a study conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), there is likely to be increased rivalry for market share in the region. Mr. Al Musallam says that despite this competition, there is plenty of opportunity for the reinvigorated Gulf Air. “Bahrain is strategically located at an approximately eight-hour flight distance from the majority of the world, allowing it to be one of the primary hubs linking East and West.”

Upgrades at Bahrain International Airport will underpin the sector’s central role in the kingdom’s economy. In anticipation of the increase in Gulf air traffic, Bahrain Airport Company has announced the expansion of Bahrain International Airport (BIA), scheduled to kick-off later in 2014. “The expansion will cater to 13.5m passengers, which is double the current capacity” he went on to explain. “Additionally, the national carrier is currently engaged in negotiations with its original equipment manufacturers to ensure Gulf Air’s future fleet and network requirements match its order book.”

OBG’s Regional Director, Jana Treeck, said “The Kingdom is placing itself in a strong position to take advantage of the rise in passenger traffic and grow specific niche areas, rather than looking to compete directly with other local airlines”

Mr. Al Mussallam’s interview also covers the role traditional airline alliances and code sharing will play in the future, as well as the opportunities the aviation sector’s growth provides for young Bahrainis.

The Report: Bahrain 2014 will examine the key economic drivers within the Kingdom’s economy, including finance, transport, energy, real estate and many core sectors, assessing macro-economic trends and developments. With over 200 pages of original research compiled on the ground, The Report will benefit from Oxford Business Group’s 10 years of experience in this market.

For more information please contact:
Oxford Business Group, 131-151 Gt Titchfield St, London, UK W1W 5BB
Stephanie Parker, Director of Communications
Phone: +44 207 403 7213

For media enquiries, please contact:
Azza Mubarak Matar
Manager Communications
Gulf Air Tel: +973 17338765 / +973 39652012