Gulf Air plans to sell shares next year
Gulf Air is planning to offer a part of its shares for subscription next year.
The airline will allow private institutions, including Gulf companies, to buy shares, a report said.
With the government's support, the management aims to lead the company back to profitability, which will consolidate its status and raise its share in both Bahrain and the Gulf markets, chairman Mahmood Al Kooheji was quoted as saying in the Akhbar Al Khaleej report.
The government is determined to maintain Gulf Air's position as an essential and strong backer for the national economy, he said.
“Gulf Air is now on the right path to success,” he added.
Gulf Air is on a flight-path to success despite the resignation of president and chief executive Andre Dosé. The recovery plan Dose helped draw up is already paying off and the airline will continue with the programme.
Board member Jawad Habib said Gulf Air was not at risk of being swallowed by bigger players - whether by existing low-cost airlines or possible new entrants to the industry.
'We have a very sophisticated network and we have slots in over 60 countries and I don't think the network that Gulf Air has achieved over the last 60 years can be easily achieved by a new airline,' he said.
'It is in the interest of Gulf Air to manage the new situation, let these newcomers bring passengers to the hub of the national carrier and take these passengers from here on a sophisticated network.'
Habib later spelled out the continuing importance of Gulf Air to Bahrain.
'I don't believe we have an alternative but to support Gulf Air, to be absolutely frank with you,' he told the Gulf Daily News. 'We once did an analysis and asked 'Why have the hub in Bahrain? Why not have the hub in Muscat , which is in a country with a bigger population?' The result was that Bahrain is a better option. Why? Because we have the business community. When you have more than 400 financial institutions and they commute on a daily basis to see their clients, you have a strong base.
'We have that niche and there are others we can open in the future - for example at a proximity of 25km you have five million people sitting on the other side of the causeway who would prefer to travel long haul on Gulf Air than a Saudi carrier.'
Gulf Air has not yet approached anyone to fill the role of president and chief executive on a permanent basis and will not be giving preference to Bahraini candidates, said Al Kooheji.
Responding to increasing sales and to provide better customer service as part of its new network strategy, Gulf Air has expanded its weekly flight services to three key cities in Saudi Arabia.
Gulf Air now operates 14 flights per week to Dammam or double its previous service to the city in the Easter Province of the Kingdom. Meanwhile flights to the Saudi capital Riyadh and to the Red Sea port city of Jeddah have both increased to 10 flights per week from seven earlier.