Gulf Air vows top priority for safety
Safety remains a priority for Gulf Air and the airline will continue to strive for higher standards in all aspects of passenger travel, its chief executive has said.In an "Open Letter" marking the first anniversary of the loss of Gulf Air flight GF072 off Bahrain, president and chief executive Ibrahim Al Hamer also conveyed the airline's sorrow and sympathies to the relatives and friends of the victims of the air crash. All 143 people on board the Airbus A320 flight from Cairo were killed when the plane crashed into the sea off Bahrain airport as it came in for its third landing attempt. "The airline and all its employees were profoundly affected by the events of that day, and our thoughts and sympathies are still with the victims, and their families and friends, a year later," Al Hamer said. "As long as a need exists, we continue to extend to those most affected every assistance from the airline through the Family Care office, which was set-up immediately after the incident and is staffed full-time during office hours. "Gulf Air also continues to make every effort to ensure a satisfactory conclusion to any outstanding issues, such as the compensation of victims' families. This, in particular, has been both a complex and emotive matter. "We hope that, through continued cooperation and dialogue with all the various parties involved, it can be resolved." Al Hamer said the airline has continued to give its full cooperation to the Accident Investigation Board and is committed to the publication of a full and frank account of the causes of the crash. He said that through the appointment of specialist consultants, such as Lufthansa Consulting, in February 2000, Gulf Air has set new safety standards in flight operations and procedures. Gulf Air was the first airline in the region to include the evaluation of non-technical abilities as an essential element in pilot selection procedures, he said. "Through a contractual arrangement with German based DLR, one of the world's foremost independent organisations involved in the selection of operational aviation personnel, Gulf Air has adopted similar systematic pilot selection procedures to those of some of the world's leading airlines," said Al Hamer. "The principles of assessment and training that have been adopted for pilots will be extended to apply to other personnel as part of a broader programme within the airline to promote Crew Resource Management.