With Gulf Air’s recovery gathering momentum, the airline is well placed to provide even greater support to Oman’s tourism drive according to Luke Medley, Vice President - Services for Gulf Air.
Mr Medley was speaking to government officials and other guests at the official dinner to welcome delegates to the first Built Environment for Sustainable Tourism (BEST), taking place in Muscat from 5 to 8 February and for which Gulf Air is official airline and a main sponsor.
“Things are looking good for Gulf Air in 2005 and the airline is virtually unrecognizable to the one I joined just over two years ago,” he said. “We have worked hard on a wide range of initiatives and programmes not only to change the airline, but also to promote the economic development of the region, most specifically in the development of tourism. We will continue to do so in close collaboration with all the relevant government departments and tourism authorities in Oman and across the region to ensure the long term sustainability of such programmes.”
“We realized that to be successful in the service industry, change was a necessity, ” he added. ” We also realized that if we were to take our business forward we had to adapt, identify the gaps in operations, as we - and the customer - embarked on a journey of change. And what a change it has been!”
Over one and a half million passengers flew on Gulf Air to and from Seeb International Airport in 2004 - an increase of 34.3 per cent on the same period last year.Ê This number has been significantly bolstered by the introduction of daily, direct service between Muscat and London which began last June.
Gulf Air operates more flights from Seeb International than any other carrier and Medley said he is confident that Gulf Air’s own holiday programmes, such the Arabian Experience, in tandem with the government’s on-going tourism drive will see the industry continue to grow.
“Clearly our strong performance in 2004 demonstrates that the investment we have made in our services, frequencies and network connections is paying dividends,” said Medley.Ê “We are committed to continuing the investment in the Gulf Air brand, in our people, services and equipment.Ê Notable here is the $10 million investment in new first and business seats which will be introduced from February in our Airbus A330 fleet serving the London-Oman route by early summer.
“This investment underscores our objective to achieve meaningful change, that will ensure not only our continued relevance in the increasingly competitive market but also drive the contribution we make to Oman’s economic development.”
In conclusion, Medley wished everyone a very successful conference. “We at Gulf Air will watch the outcome with great interest, as your success in developing sustainable tourism is central to our long term success too,” he said.