Gulf Air to slash operations by 15 percent in rationalisation package
ATTENTION - INCORPORATES gulf-aviation-SriLanka ///
MANAMA, Sept 26 (AFP) -
gulf air announced Wednesday it will slash operations by 15 percent from October 1 to counter a decline in air traffic and "safeguard the long-term health" of the airline.
"Gulf air regrets taking this action ... but we have been forced to for commercial reasons and to safeguard the long-term health of the airline," it said in a statement.
The airline said the rationalisation package was to "reduce costs in line with other international airlines facing the economic downturn and the impact of the recent terrorist attacks in the United States."
It will become "effective on October 1 with an overall reduction of 15 percent system wide."
The airline added that it will encourage employees to take advantage of its early retirement package, which was being relaunched.
The airline industry is one of the sectors hardest hit by the September 11 terror attacks in the United States, and a fall in passenger traffic owing to a global economic slowdown.
Airlines throughout the world have announced that tens of thousands of people will lose their jobs, profits will evaporate, and fleets and routes cut down.
On a positive note, gulf air said it will resume a service to Colombo from September 29, at an initial rate of four times a week, after the Sri Lankan government reduced high war-risk insurance premiums for planes landing there.
Gulf air, which belongs to the governments of Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Abu Dhabi, announced a suspension of flights from September 18 "as a result of the prohibitive cost of insuring aircraft and passengers on the Sri Lanka route."
International underwriters drastically increased war-risk insurance following a devastating Tamil Tiger rebel attack on Sri Lanka's only international airport on July 24.