GULF Air chairman Abdul Aziz Kanoo said the airline is forecasting revenue growth of more than five per cent in 2006, following the switch to a two-hub model earlier in the year.
He confirmed that the continuing high prices of fuel will have a significant impact upon the airline’s operating cost base, resulting in losses for a second successive year.
Kanoo was speaking after the airline released figures showing that passenger traffic at its Bahrain and Muscat hubs had grown by 31.0 per cent in the year to date, compared to 2005.
“When Gulf Air switched to its two hub model earlier this year, we saw immediate positive impact on the airports of Bahrain and of Oman. There has been a significant increase in the number of passengers through, and into, each airport,” he adds. “The increased traffic has also been achieved without sacrificing yields. We expect revenues to grow by between five and six per cent this year, which is a strong performance in the current industry environment. However, if we are to reduce losses, every effort needs to be made to contain costs.”
Looking further forward, Kanoo said, “despite major challenges, Gulf Air has seen all its key performance indicators continue to move in the right direction, including a large reduction in debt, better unit revenues and reduced non-fuel costs.”
Beginning December 14, Gulf Air will increase its services from Bahrain to Kuwait, operating four daily flights on the sector, making it a total of 28 flights per week from its present 21 flights per week. Gulf Air has also started operating three direct, non-stop flights per week between Kuwait and Muscat as of November.
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