GF has record year

Gulf Air broke the 6 million paying passenger barrier last year, as the carrier recorded its highest traffic figures ever.

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By  Neil Denslow Published  January 11, 2004

Gulf Air broke the 6 million revenue passenger barrier last year, as the carrier recorded its highest traffic figures ever. The airline carried 500 000 more passengers than in 2002, an increase of more than 10%, and nearly 2 million more than it carried ten years ago. “The true judges of whether we are on the right track with our restructuring programme are our passengers,” says James Hogan, president & chief executive, Gulf Air. “They certainly have given us a vote of confidence during 2003 and we aim to ensure they continue to fly with us with a programme of continuous improvements to products and services in 2004.” Gulf Air’s record passenger numbers come against a backdrop of one of the most difficult years in the global aviation industry and increased local competition. “Through the implementation of streamlined operations, improved business processes, and day to day fiscal discipline, we gave ourselves the flexibility to respond quickly to an ever-changing and dynamic market, and the requirements of a more sophisticated customer base in the region,” notes Hogan. “Within this context, Gulf Air has performed exceptionally well. We expect to be among just a small group of airlines that have achieved positive growth in a year that has presented more than its fair share of challenges.” The carrier has also had a ‘successful’ year financially, cutting its loses from BD40.6 million (US$ 108 million) in 2002 to around BD20 million ($53 million) in 2003. Gulf Air expects to break even in 2004, and make a profit next year. Aircraft financing debts have also decreased significantly. “This is not a flash in the pan,” he said “The foundations we have been laying over the past year or so are for the long term benefit of Gulf Air. Despite the shadow cast over the area by regional tensions and the ongoing instability and security risks in Iraq, there is also a great deal of optimism and every reason for confidence in the future.”

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