Gulf Air is reporting a strong increase in passenger traffic through its hubs in Bahrain and Muscat during 2005, whilst recording a reduction in traffic through Abu Dhabi, reflecting a switch in capacity from the airport.
Premium traffic rose across the Gulf Air network by 26 per cent and Revenue per Available Seat Kilometre (RASK), a key indicator for airline performance, rose by 10 per cent.
Growth was focused at Bahrain airport, which saw passenger numbers rise 7.9 per cent to 3.6 million (2004: 3.3 million), and Muscat, which saw numbers rise 15.1 per cent to 1.8 million (2004: 1.5 million). Gulf Air passengers at Abu Dhabi airport were 2.7 million, down 16.9 per cent on 2004, a result of reductions in Gulf Air capacity at the airport.
“We were pleased to report continued growth for the airline in 2005, despite an increasingly tough competitive environment,” says Gulf Air President and Chief Executive James Hogan.
“The Middle East is fast becoming one of the most competitive air travel markets in the world, with new carriers and new capacity increasing regularly. That makes our growth a satisfying achievement.
“2006 will be another tough year, but we now have the clarity of focus and shareholder support to continue to build this business for the long term.
“We expect strong growth in passenger numbers at Bahrain and Muscat again in 2006, as we switch capacity into these two hubs from Abu Dhabi. However we will continue to serve Abu Dhabi strongly with direct routes and one-stop connections.”
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