Even as tensions rise worldwide and the possibility of an Iraq strike on the horizon, Gulf Air is confident of a strong first quarter. The Gulf Air chief James Hogan asserts that his airline will emerge strong once the Iraq conflict is settled.
Speaking to Times Business, the president and chief executive officer of the airline, James Hogan stated that January 2003 result was a record and the first two months of this year “beat our plan.”
However, this March “unfortunately is going to be soft” with the happenings of the region. “Depending on whatever happens in the region, even at this stage the April and May forecast is strong. So we believe once the Iraq situation is resolved, we will comeback strong. And that’s why I am very confident that we will meet the objective,” he said.
“Our results for the first quarter are better than projected in our three year plan with yields for January and February at their highest point since 1997 and 1995, respectively. Passenger figures are up 13.5 per cent over the same period last year.” For Gulf Air “business has grown, our load factor is stable at around 70 per cent.” Its yield in January and February is the highest it has been since 1997 and 1995, respectively. It is also higher than the projections in its three-year strategy.
Market response to the innovations introduced last year and in the first two months of 2003 has been strong impacting on the company’s performance figures positively.
For instance, Gulf Air used to fly just four weekly flights into Frankfurt and Paris. The load factor on these routes was in the region of 55 per cent. Since the introduction of daily flights last year, the airline claims to have an increased load factor (present 75 per cent).
“The convenience offered by a daily service, coupled with a truly premium in-flight service is making its mark in the market, and inevitably this must impact on what our competitors are doing. I am satisfied with the results,” James said.