Flight of the Falcon
Very few airlines, if any at all, failed to experience the dire financial repercussions of the events of 9-11.But with Gulf Air chief James Hogan saying that the airline would re-build itself over the next three years, the mood is one of optimism. The process to re-establish Gulf Air as one of the leading airlines of the world is well underway and restructuring efforts have led to several developments in the airline, says Hogan. "In particular, bold new initiatives have been launched which strike at the chord of the airline's strategy, and that is customer service. In short, 'going the extra mile'." In the last few months, says Hogan, we have seen some landmark activity and change, and this will certainly continue to gain momentum. Not only are fresh measures subject to immense scrutiny, but they also stand to impact significantly on our pivotal presentation of the new three-year strategy to the Gulf Air board, due to take place very soon. Gulf Air's major restructuring process aims to further evolve Gulf Air, by taking its cultural strengths as a renowned global product and service leader into a contemporary global environment. This has led to the introduction of new management, and the radical reappraisal of obsolete processes, says Hogan. He states that the airline has three goals: Be professional, accountable, and to deliver on promises. He says that continual performance enhancements are being implemented to achieve even greater reliability and efficient services for customers. "For example, one of our most significant performances has been the improvement in On-Time Performance (OTP). Our results for July for example show an eight per cent improvement on figures for the same period last year - with 66 per cent of flights leaving on time, and 84 per cent taking off within 15 minutes of schedule. "High levels of punctuality like this exceed both our own OTP target and the industry benchmark, but more importantly they reflect our commitment to the provision of an efficient service for our customers in real terms." Hogan said that the airline was focusing increasingly on its Intra Gulf services and was complementing this with increased flights to and from points in Europe, effective with its winter schedule. He also added, however, that along with enhancing products and creating greater efficiencies, part of the restructuring process must involve 'tightening the corporate belt'. New business and yield factors are part of this and a number of measures taken earlier on in the restructuring programme were specifically geared to drive these. Gulf Air is focusing on its 'basic philosophy': "Gulf Air aims to get [its] customers where they want to go when they need to be there," says Hogan.