Gulf Air passenger numbers rise


Gulf Air has announced that the year 2004 was another record year for the airline in terms of the number of passengers it carried.

As many as 7,484,470 revenue passengers flew on the Gulf Air network in 2004, up 23.5 per cent from 6,059,872 in 2003, breaking the previous year’s record for the highest number carried in a single financial year. Passenger revenue increased by 27.5 per cent over 2003, largely driven by the 24.2 per cent more premium passengers carried in 2004. Revenue Passengers per Kilometre (RPKs) increased by 32.1 per cent on Actual Seat Kilometres (ASK), an increase of 26.1 per cent. Seat factor meanwhile rose to 71.4 per cent compared to 68.2 per cent in 2003 – another record. Similar growth was seen in cargo where there was an 18.1 per cent growth in revenue.
“This is another very positive indicator that there is ever-growing public confidence in the changes that we are making within the airline,” said president and chief executive, James Hogan. “While these numbers are significant, they can only be regarded as successful if unit costs are down, and I am pleased to report we continue to make excellent progress in this area too.”
All three of Gulf Air’s hubs in Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Bahrain contributed to the record total, each turning in strong individual performances. “Audited figures for the financial year to 31 December 2004 are expected to be announced in early February and we are optimistic about achieving our objective to break even,” he said. “This positive performance runs contrary to prevailing trends in the airline industry, which has been negatively impacted by the spiralling cost of fuel in the latter half of the year. Despite this and the other significant challenges of the last two years, we are committed to continuing the investment in the Gulf Air brand, in its people, services and equipment. Notable here is the $10 million investment in new first and business seats which will be introduced from February in our Airbus A330 fleet.
“This investment underscores our objective to achieve meaningful and sustainable change, that will ensure not only our continued relevance in the increasingly competitive market but also drive the contribution we make to the economic development of the region as a whole and our owner states in particular.
“Gulf Air enters 2005 in one of its strongest positions for many year,” said Hogan. “Given our reputation for innovation, energy and strong customer focus, and within the commercial framework we have established, we are confident that we will overcome whatever challenges the year may bring.”