Gulf Air, the national carrier of the UAE, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar, has announced the appointment of Ali Murtada to the position of Regional Manager GCC and Middle East.
The appointment, which took effect on 1 June, gives Mr Murtada the scope to effect the airline’s far-reaching strategies to re-establish its operations on a commercial basis and to position Gulf Air as the preferred airline in the home markets and catchment areas.
“It is clear that Ali has a wealth of experience in the airline industry, and more importantly an in-depth intuitive knowledge of the local markets in which he will direct our operations. This essential mix will be fundamental in promoting Gulf Air and developing these key markets,” said James Hogan, President & Chief Executive of Gulf Air.
Mr Murtada has been with Gulf Air for a total of 29 years. He started his career in the reservations department, and a few years later was selected as one of the first candidates to take part in the company’s original graduate trainee program for Gulf nationals from the owner states. A series of managerial positions in various departments followed before he was appointed as the Area Manager for Bahrain in 1982. Four years later in 1986, he took up the equivalent position in India, the airline’s largest external outstation and operational centre.
In 1991, he returned to Bahrain to become Regional Vice President Asia Pacific, a post he held till 1994, when he took over the independent management of Gulf Air’s lucrative cargo operation, which was followed in 2000 by a spell as the Head of Inflight Services.
Commenting on this new role, Ali said: “The markets of the Gulf present immense challenges for me. They are still under cultivation, and have tremendous potential. It will take innovation and creativity to maximize the opportunities for growth here, but I believe that by virtue of Gulf Air’s long history in the region, as well as the unwavering support and professionalism of our staff, we have a strong basis from which to work to provide the best possible levels of service,” he said.