Gulf Air seeks boutique positioning with new strategy

Gulf Air seeks boutique positioning with new strategy

Gulf Air has sought to reposition itself as a “boutique” carrier, focusing on service ahead of volume.

The loss-making national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain revealed the plans as part of a five-year strategy to become the customer airline of choice in the Gulf region.

In a conference held in the Wyndham Grand Hotel in Bahrain Bay, Gulf Air said it would differentiate itself from bigger carriers that are more volume driven.

Gulf Air chairman, Zayed Alzayani, said: “This is an even more exciting year for Gulf Air as we continue our efforts and plans to portray the airline as a solid national asset that serves the Kingdom of Bahrain and yet caters to an international audience.

“Today we announced our boutique concept, which will see the airline adapt a new business model to shine among the competitors in our own unique way.”

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While details are thin, it is hoped the approach will give the airline a competitive advantage.

In practice it will translate into a new fleet, a new Falcon Gold class offering, new exclusive products, new destinations and the new terminal at Bahrain International Airport - due to open towards the end of the year.

In 2018, Gulf Air announced its new five-year strategy, which began with the delivery of five Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner’s and one Airbus 320neo.

The carrier also launched six new destinations: Alexandria and Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, Baku in Azerbaijan, Casablanca in Morocco and Bangalore and Calicut in India.

The airline deployed its latest state-of-the-art Dreamliner’s to London Heathrow, Casablanca, Bangkok and recently to Manila - a step that was appraised by its loyal and new customers alike.

Boutique airlines around the world include Finnair, Malaysia Airlines, and Cathay Pacific, among others, but there are none based in the Gulf region.

Such airlines are generally not the biggest, and they focus on service in favour of route network.