Gulf Air recorded a BHD24.1m loss in 2015, a significant improvement on the BHD62.7m loss in 2014, indicating three-year restructuring efforts are starting to reap benefits.
CEO Maher Salman Al Musallam said it is in a position to manage its controlled future growth after “successfully” eradicating legacy debts.
Despite an 88 per cent fall in losses in the three years to 2015, aviation analyst Saj Ahmad said the airline still has a long way to go before turning a profit.
“In this low fuel price environment, operating the likes of the A330 will become less expensive, but had the airline not deferred the fuel efficient B787s, the carrier could have benefited not just from the airplanes’ low fuel consumption and lower trip costs, the low fuel price would have made the 787s even cheaper to operate, thus allowing Gulf Air the opportunity to grow faster organically. As it is, the airline has to laser focus its yield management to drive revenues but also cut out wastage to lower costs.”
The airline has reined in its network to focus primarily on regional routes although the retrofit of its A330s last year showed it retains wide-body aspirations, even if its long-haul network – London, Paris, Bangkok and Manila – remains conservative by Gulf competitors’ standards. This month it started five-times weekly flights between Bahrain and Dhaka on two-class A320s.
Last month Gulf Air FalconFlyer teamed up with Europcar, enabling frequent flyers to accrue miles on every car rental.