Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Airline Scene in Bahrain

I was in Bahrain at the beginning of the month after almost 9 years. The place has changed, malls, highways and newly developed areas reclaimed from the sea in the usual Bahrain way. I had a good time, doing business and meeting friends and relatives and did not feel unsafe at any time during my stay.

However, some things never change in Bahrain and that is stories about Gulf Air. Well, there are several stories being bandied around one of them is that the CEO will be leaving by the end of the month and the other is that some business interests have aligned with some political figures in the government to promote Bahrain Air as a replacement of Gulf Air.

Both Gulf Air and Bahrain Air had a hard 2011; in addition to the Arab Spring in key markets and problems in Bahrain, the rising fuel costs and Eurozone woes; the government banned flights to Lebanon, Iraq and Iran for a few months, all key markets for the airlines.

The future of Gulf air is being debated by a Parliamentary ad hoc committee that is reviewing options (keeping the status quo, dissolving the airline, selling it off to a strategic partner or downsizing it) presented by the government. Downsizing seems to be the preferred option provided it does not affect Bahrain nationals, a prime objective at all times. The Labor Union representing Gulf Air employees is very powerful and nothing will move forward without their express or tacit approval, a fact that should always be remembered.

Bahrain Air, a privately held airline, has the same woes as Gulf Air and could probably do with some government support.

Whether Bahrain Air can replace Gulf Air, the short answer is no; Gulf Air has a greater international
presence and operates far more international routes to Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Far East.

Another option is to merge both airlines?!

Only time will tell what the outcome will be,  but as everything else in the region, never a dull moment.

In any case, it was an enjoyable visit and I look forward to visiting again soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment


1 Goal 2010 2012 2013 9/11 AA Abu Dhabi ADAC Air Arabia Air Canada Air India Airberlin aircraft airlines airports ambitions American Airlines Amman aviation AVOD AWST B707-300C B767 B777 B787 BA Bahrain Bahrain Air BangaloreAviation Boeing branding British Airways Business Aviation Cabin Crew Canada change chapter 11 CO Commercials communication community compliance contingency continuity Continuous Improvement cost effective creativity Culture curricula Customer Service Delta Detroit Metro DFW Doha DTW Dubai Dubai Air Show DWC efficiency emergency Emergency Response Emirates employees environment ET409 Etihad ETS EU FA FAA family Flight Attendants flight(s) Flightglobal flydubai GACA Galaxy Tablet GAMCO GCC globalisation GOL Greece Green Gulf Air Hala Hamburg happy health home Hopenhagen Human Resources IFE India Iran Iraq Iraqi Airways Jaffa Jazeera Airways Jet Airways Jordan Just Culture Kuwait Airways LA LCC leadership low cost maintenance management manpower MEA MEBAA MENA Michigan motivation MRO MROAM Oneworld Palestine passengers passion people Philadelphia planet earth Privatization professional QAIA Qantas Qatar Qatar Airways Quality Quick Service Restaurant Radio Repair Stations Risk road roots ROTANAJET Royal Jordanian Safety Sanctions. Sao Jose Dos campos SAT Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabian Airlines Security Sharjah Airport SimliFlying Simplicity SKYTEAM SMS social media Southern California Southwest Airlines Star Alliance Sudan Airways support target teachers Technology terrorism tolerance Toulouse tourism traffic Training transition travel TSA Turkey Twitter UA UAE UBM US Airways VIA Rail Violin Vision volcanic ash Wataniya Airways
Top Blogs
Powered By Invesp