Gulf Air, Bahrain's national carrier, reported significant growth in several areas of operation during 2009. Despite the economic downturn that affected almost all business sectors, Gulf Air carried around 5.7 million passengers in 2009, which is slightly more than the number of passengers carried in 2008.
The Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPK) also showed a better performance by registering a 2.1 per cent growth. The overall flight punctuality also reached 82.5 per cent during the year registering an increase of 12.5 per cent over 2008. Technical Dispatch Reliability reached 98.1 per cent, well above the industry norms.
The Board of Directors of the airline, which met yesterday to mark Gulf Air's 60th Anniversary, unanimously approved the audited financial results for the year 2009, presented by Chief Executive Officer Samer Majali.
Majali also presented a report for January and February 2010 during which period the company recorded impressive performance. The airline has made an overall cost-saving of 12.3 per cent, he said.
The seat factor has also registered a growth of 4.1 per cent for the two months when compared to the same period last year. Technical Dispatch Reliability for two months reached a commendable 98.8 per cent. The airline flew 870,000 passengers in these two months.
"As we celebrate our Diamond Jubilee year, we are creating an airline for the next 60 years and beyond - an airline that offers excellence in quality and service as well as excellent value. Towards achieving this, we have launched several initiatives in recent months. The introduction of regional jets into our fleet is a major step in this direction, bringing a new dynamics to travel experience in the region; we will be able to offer more regional destinations for our customers while maintaining our leadership position as the best-connecting carrier across the region", Majali said.
"We have also embarked on a comprehensive revamping of our products and services onboard. The introduction of the new premium class, 'Falcon Gold' is the first step in our objective to offer our customers a superior and more consistent product and enhanced travel experience across our entire wide and narrow body fleet."
"At the same time we are conscious of the financial impact due to the total number of employees we have on our roll. We have started optimising on this front and as a result, we have now around 300 less staff in our strength than last year. We were able to achieve this due to our strict contract-renewal criteria, freeze in recruitment except critical positions, and freezing positions that fall vacant through natural attritions such as resignations and retirements."
"Challenges are ahead but we have now laid a strong platform for the future, with a totally committed team. I strongly believe that successful organisations are those that use adverse times to their advantage, finding opportunities to excel and I am sure we will be able to succeed," Majali concluded.