Bahrain’s national carrier Gulf Air today marked its successful 61 years of service to Saudi Arabia reinforcing its longstanding relationship with the Kingdom and reaffirming its long-term commitment to its largest market outside Bahrain. On the occasion, the airline also unveiled a series of commercial initiatives tailored to the Saudi market.
Commemorating the historic landmark, Gulf Air also announced a two-day, 25% discount on fares from Riyadh and Dammam to the Middle East and North Africa destinations.
Addressing the media at a press conference held in Riyadh today, Gulf Air Chief Executive Officer Mr. Samer Majali said, “Bahrain’s relationship with Saudi Arabia is historical dating back to centuries and, as the national carrier of Bahrain, the Kingdom has been part of the airline’s history since its beginning. It is one of the first three countries that we began our services to, landing in Dhahran in 1950 expanding further into Jeddah in 1976. We also own the distinction of being the first international airline to land in Riyadh in 1982. Since then we have flown more than fifteen million passengers to and from the Kingdom since we began services 61 years ago. And here we are today to commemorate this historic occasion, reinforcing our commitment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
He continued, “Being strategically located at the doorsteps of Saudi Arabia, Gulf Air offers the best connections for customers to reach out to the Kingdom’s vast market via the causeway and its multiple daily connections between Bahrain and Riyadh, Jeddah and Medina with its fifty-four flights per week to and from these cities.”
On the occasion, Mr. Samer Majali also unveiled the airline’s new commercial initiatives. Gulf Air will be introducing Falcon Corporate Plus, a package designed exclusively for corporate travellers, offering a range of benefits that include special price discounts and free upgrades from economy to Falcon Gold class.
The airline is also coming up with an innovative programme specifically for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Saudi Arabia that offers a range of incentives including a double bonanza by which both - the member organizations and their travelling employees - earn miles that can be redeemed for free flights, upgrades, etc.
Gulf Air’s popular Frequent Flyer programme has also undergone a major change; renamed ‘Falcon Flyer,’ the new programme offers members even more attractive privileges and value added benefits such as bonus miles up to 250%, guaranteed seats, priority baggage handling, half miles redemption and family membership. Gulf Air already has nearly 50,000 Frequent Flyer members from Saudi Arabia.
For families, Gulf Air will be introducing ‘Family First’ - a series of competitively priced packages for customers travelling with their spouses and kids, offering special privileges both on the ground and in the air. This will be an attractive package particularly for Saudis, who very often travel with their families on vacation.
Most important of this suite of initiatives is the “Sky Hub”- the world’s first full connectivity onboard Gulf Air’s long-haul flights offering high speed internet, 3G-4G mobile data speed connectivity, voice over the internet (VOIP) i.e. Skype, streaming videos and the world’s first in-flight LIVE TV via satellite. Passengers can stay connected in the sky for SAR 100 for 24 hours.
“Saudi Arabia has always been, and will be, an important market for us and I would like to thank our Saudi customers for their continuous support to Gulf Air and we look forward to developing this relationship further,” concluded Mr. Majali.
As part of its network strategy to expand into niche markets, Gulf Air started services to eight new destinations since January 2011 in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and has recently announced the launch of services to three more destinations- Rome, the capital of Italy from 30 November, Entebbe in Uganda from 5 Dec and Juba, the capital of South Sudan from 7 Feb 2012.
Gulf Air currently services Riyadh with 14 weekly flights from Bahrain.
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