Gulf Air today announced that it is to introduce a daily, non-stop service from Muscat to London Heathrow airport, starting at the end of June 2004. The airline thus becomes the first and only carrier to operate a daily non-stop service to London/Europe from the Oman capital.
The new daily service brings to 33, the number of Gulf Air flights between the Gulf and London each week for the duration of the winter schedule.
“Over the last year we have significantly increased our services in and out of Muscat,” said Fareed Al Alawi, Vice President Network at Gulf Air. “This latest addition to our schedule is a further illustration of our commitment to serve our customers in Oman more effectively, with increased frequencies, the shortest possible flight times and greater levels of passenger convenience and comfort.
“Our philosophy regarding network development is quite simple,” he added. “It is to get our customersÊ where they want to go, when they need to be there. Our customers have told us that frequency is important to them - hence the introduction from the outset, of a daily service. This step is endorsed by our research which indicates that this addition is a commercially viable growth option for Gulf Air.”
Over the last 18 months Gulf air has increased its frequencies from owner state home bases to key destinations such as London, Frankfurt, Paris and Sydney with a minimum of daily flights.
Mahfood Bin Ali Al Harthy, Regional General Manager Gulf Region at Gulf Air reiterated that this step is in harmony with the needs of customers.
“The initial response to the announcement from the travel trade has been overwhelming,” he said. “We anticipate strong demand for the first flights, which come at the beginning of the peak summer holiday period. Customers from Muscat will now be able to travel non-stop to London in the comfort of one of our recently leased Airbus A340 aircraft, and enjoy the many innovative services offered on board.”
Onboard services include chefs in the sky in the First Class cabin, the equivalent of a first class menu in the Business Class Cabin, and the newly introduced Sky Nanny service in all cabins.
Inbound and outbound timings have yet to be finalized, but will be determined with the customer in mind, when it comes to matters such as onward connections.
Gulf Air is committed to building on its strong regional network around the GCC and Pan Arab region, with increases in daily frequencies and more convenient connections from Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Muscat to key destinations in the Gulf, Africa, the Indian Subcontinent and the Far East. Gulf Air also operates direct daily services into London, Paris, Sydney and Frankfurt from its gateways in the Gulf.
Gulf Air was founded in 1950. Today, it is owned by the Kingdom of Bahrain, Oman and the UAE and is the only truly pan Gulf carrier in the region. The airline’s network stretches from Europe to Asia and covers 45 cities in 34 countries. The fleet is one of the most modern in the Middle East and comprises 34 aircraft.
The airline is in the second year of a three-year strategic recovery programme, headed by President and Chief Executive, James Hogan. The airline’s aim is to further evolve by taking its renowned cultural strengths, technical expertise, modern fleet and professional management team which have been developed over more than half a century, into a global competitive environment.
Gulf Air was recognised with the prestigious Airline Turnaround of the Year Award by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) in 2003.