Tourism spurs BAS profits


Bahrain Airport Services (BAS), will soon embark on an internal facelift programme at the headquarters to bring several services under one roof, said BAS executive committee chairman Jamil Wafa.

BAS, the sole ground handling agent at the country's airport, said its 2002 net profits rose by 57 per cent to BD1.24 million ($3.29 million) from a year earlier.

A dividend of 20 per cent was declared at the company's annual general meeting held at the BAS headquarters yesterday.

BAS was set up in 1977 with a paid-up capital of BD3 million and now has a book value of BD22.5 million.

Among the founders are Gulf Air, which has a stake of 30 per cent and a group of travel agents headed by Kanoo Travel.

Wafa, who chaired the meeting on behalf of Transportation Minister and BAS board chairman Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, was re-elected by the shareholders.

Other board members re-elected are: Luke Medley and Fareed Al Alawi (Gulf Air), Fawzi Kanoo and W H C Brien (Kanoo Travel), Mohammed Jalal (Jalal Travel) and Mahmood Hussain (Delmon Travel).

Wafa told shareholders that BAS expected revenues to rise 10 per cent in 2003.

"We are confident to achieve this, provided the conflicts in the region settle down and the negative impact of the SARS epidemic on air travel is contained," he said.

In 2002, the number of aircraft departing from Bahrain in 2002 rose by 2.6 per cent on the previous year, the company said.

The number of passengers increased by 8.4 per cent, transit passengers by 32 per cent, cargo tonnage by 15 per cent (import of cargo by 11 per cent and export by 22.5 per cent) and transhipment by 17.6 per cent.

BAS earlier said it would establish a 100 per cent Bahraini holding company to expand its business activities in hospitality, catering and ground services both in Bahrain and outside the kingdom.

The company recently won the management contract for the second handling company in Kuwait.

Two months ago, BAS invested in buying equipment worth BD5 million.

The company employs 1,675 staff, more than 80 per cent of whom are Bahrainis.

In related news, BAS senior human resources manager Abdulrahman Al Noaimi has been promoted to assistant chief executive officer.

Mohammed Abou Romman is the new in-house legal adviser.

BAS has also recruited two British nationals to help streamline operations.

"General manager operations Pat Cassely and general manager support services Tom Nolan possess a wealth of experience," said Wafa.

"They have been given the directives to train the Bahraini element in the hope that BAS would eventually be managed totally by Bahraini staff, with a minimum number of expatriate experts working in an advisory capacity."

BAS services ranges from passenger check-in to in-flight catering, aircraft engineering support and cargo handling."