BAS flying high with future plans

Wafa … to attract more international airlines

BAHRAIN Airport Services (BAS), the only airline handling company in the Kingdom, is keen to increase the number of international airlines using the airport.

“It attended to 32 airlines, and a total of 29,000 flights last year, but we will undertake a joint marketing campaign with Civil Aviation Affairs (CAA) to attract more international airlines,” said Jamil Wafa, who was unanimously elected chairman of BAS following the recent resignation of Transportation Minister Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa.
In campaigning to attract more airlines to Bahrain, “where they will be offered some of the best services in the world, we shall work in close cooperation with Shaikh Ali and CAA Under-Secretary Captain Abdulrahman Al Gaoud,” said Wafa, who is proud that BAS has always enjoyed the patronage of Bahrain’s leadership.
With a workforce of 1,700, with 82-percent Bahrainis, BAS last year handled more than 4.5 million passengers and 200,000 tonnes of cargo. Wafa said that every effort is being made to further improve the skills of Bahrainis through training. “Being a Bahraini company we are keen to see a 100-percent Bahraini workforce. However, we need to maintain an international flavour because of a large number of international carriers operating to our airport. This is in line with internationally-recognised standards applicable the world over.”
BAS recently received an award from the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry for achieving the largest Bahrainisation percentage in the public sector.
Established in 1977 with a paid up capital of BD3 million, BAS last year won the management contract for the second handling company in Kuwait, and Wafa is appreciative of BAS chief executive Ray Sayer and his team for the excellent results achieved during 2003.
With a capacity to prepare 22,000 meals a day, Wafa said that the BAS in-flight kitchen is one of the most modern of its kind.
Gulf Air and YBA Kanoo own 30-percent shares each in BAS, while Jalal Travel, Delmon Travel, Al Gosaibi Travel, Bahrain International Travel and World Travel Services, each own an eight-percent stake.
Wafa has airline and travel industry experience spanning more than 50 years and is chairman and chief executive of Unitag Group – which includes World Travel Services – that celebrates its 30th anniversary later this year.