The increase in Gulf Air flights to and from Oman and Bahrain following the airline’s introduction of a two-hub strategy earlier this year has produced record passenger numbers.
Releasing passenger figures for the year till June 2006, Gulf Air announced a 30.1 per cent increase to 1,137,482 travellers through Muscat, and a 32.3 per cent increase to 2,181,227 travellers through Bahrain compared to last year.
“In our original estimates, we thought Gulf Air’s passenger traffic through Oman would grow by around 25 per cent,” said airline President and Chief Executive James Hogan. “But in fact the numbers have jumped by a third for the first six months of the year.
“In the first quarter we recorded growth of 20.6 and 24.1 per cent respectively. However, when the full impact of the two hub model came into effect with the summer schedule in the second quarter, the growth increased to 39.0 per cent in Oman and 41.3 per cent in Bahrain.
“Few airports in the world could handle year-on-year growth of even half that level. It is testament to the hard work and efficiency of airport management, staff and catering companies Oman Airport Services and Bahrain Airport Services that Seeb and Bahrain airports have stepped up to the challenge so smoothly.
Gulf Air has also recorded significant growth in the UK, carrying more passengers than expected from January to May this year on its key routes between London and the twin hubs of Muscat and Bahrain. The figures were measured on a year on year basis and clearly demonstrate that Gulf Air’s new two-hub strategy is working.
Oman is experiencing a boom both across its business and tourism sectors and as the only airline to provide double daily direct non-stop services from London Heathrow to Muscat, Gulf Air is profiting from the growing popularity of the destination.
In the period of January to May 2006, total revenue on the London to Muscat route increased by 16 per cent compared with the same period in 2005. Passenger figures were up by 31 per cent since 2005, with First Class seats up by 23 per cent and Economy Class up by an impressive 38 per cent. The success of the airline taking the service to a double daily in March 2006 is evident in these encouraging figures.
The route between London and Gulf Air’s other hub of Bahrain has also experienced steady growth since 2005. Premium classes have performed well, with First Class passenger numbers up by 11 per cent since 2005 and Business Class numbers up by 18 per cent. Economy Class passenger figures grew by 19 per cent since 2005 and the revenue growth year on year grew by a notable 26 per cent. Across all three cabins, passenger figures grew by 19 per cent since 2005.
Clive Wratten, UK General Manager for Gulf Air, said: “These figures are very encouraging, especially in an increasingly competitive market and with the challenges that the airline industry continues to face. Gulf Air is committed to providing the very best service for our passengers in terms of products, customer service and connectivity, and we believe that these encouraging figures back this up.”
Gulf Air’s flights between London and Bangkok have also experienced impressive growth. Passenger numbers across all cabins have increased by 39 per cent since 2005, with First Class figures up by 44 per cent since 2005 and Economy Class up by 41 per cent. Revenue on the route has also performed well, rising by 21 per cent since the same period in 2005.
Clive Wratten said: “We are delighted with the performance of our London to Bangkok route. Gulf Air has worked hard to improve connection times on this route, and this seems to be paying off.”