Gulf Air reviews its options after slump


Gulf Air is reviewing its options to preserve its operations in the immediate future in the wake of the current downturn in international air travel, its president and chief executive Ibrahim Al Hamer has said.

"Following the events of September 11, the industry suffered a global downturn of around 30 per cent in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK)," he said in a statement issued by the airline.

"Some recovery has taken place but the industry expects capacity reductions to be between 10-20 per cent over the next three months."

"Gulf Air has made every effort to maintain punctuality , its route structure and capacity levels since the crisis began on September 11, although there has been a serious downturn in the airline's traffic, in common with the world's airlines," Al Hamer said.

"For the month of September, GF showed a decline of 6 per cent in passengers carried, 3.9 per cent in seat factor and 8 per cent in RPK.

"The two weeks of October show a decline of 20.4 per cent in passengers carried, 10.4 per cent in seat factor and 25.6 per cent in RPK.

"These results are below break even levels. The comparison is with the same months in 2000. The previously announced schedule reductions will continue for the time being.

"Our present plan is to reduce our fleet from 30 to 26 aircraft during 2002. The reduced capacity and fleet operations will almost certainly result in the closure of some stations and reduction of flights throughout our network to maximise yield and maintain load factor to minimise losses."

Gulf Air has recently announced the airline is providing long-serving employees of the four owner states with an early retirement package with the approval of the company.

The airline's board has appointed international consultants Simat Helliesen and Eichner Inc (SH&E) to make recommendations for restructuring and restoring the company's profitability.

SH&E will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the airline's business processes and strategies.