Gulf Air has launched a new three-year strategic plan that makes provision for significant investment in key areas of the business to deliver sustained growth over the long term. The announcement followed a Board meeting in Muscat, Oman, at which the airline’s new Board passed a series of resolutions in support of the new plan.
Smart Airline, Successful Business includes provision for re-capitalization of the airline, re-equipment of the fleet, product upgrades and refurbishment of present aircraft, and investment in a range of areas of the business.
The resolutions in support of Smart Airline, Successful Business were passed at the first Board meeting under Gulf Air’s new ownership structure, which sees the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Sultanate of Oman now each owning 50 per cent of the airline, following the withdrawal of Abu Dhabi as a shareholder.
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive of Gulf Air, said: “I am delighted with the Board’s strong support for our new business plan. Smart Airline, Successful Business will take us forward strongly, consolidating Gulf Air’s position at the forefront of the global aviation industry.”
“With the support of shareholders that are 100 per cent committed to the success of our business, this airline will reinforce its position as a world class service brand with the strongest regional network in the Middle East.”
In a review of performance Mr Hogan reported that 2005 had been an exceptionally challenging year for airlines, during which industry association, IATA calculated that the cumulative impact of fuel price rises would amount to about $6.5 billion.
James Hogan said: “The new two-hub strategy will result in significant cost reductions and bring major improvements to our key operational indicators, including punctuality, as we will have greater fleet flexibility and an even more effective set of connections.”
“But our two-hub strategy does not mean we are withdrawing from Abu Dhabi airport - far from it. We will still retain more than 50 flights a week into and out of Abu Dhabi, with direct and onward connections to a wide range of destinations.”
Hogan promised a number of more detailed announcements about Smart Airline, Successful Business over the coming weeks.
He also announced that Bahrain and Oman Board members had agreed to recapitalization of the airline. This will be subject to final sign-off by each Government.
“These funding decisions mean we can invest in new aircraft and other infrastructure to take this airline forward. But we will continue to take every decision on a sound commercial basis,” he said.
Finally, James Hogan thanked the Board for their support, including the three new members representing Bahrain - Abdul Aziz Jassim Kanoo, Mahmood Hashem Al Kooheji and Khalid Omar Al Rumaihi - as well as the existing members from Oman.