BA
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The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Sat Apr 01, 2006 10:13 am

Last September, the government of Abu Dhabi announced it was withdrawing from Gulf Air as a shareholder in order to focus on Etihad Airways which was launched in 2003.

It is inevitable that we will eventually see the shutting down of the Abu Dhabi hub, as has happened with Dubai and Doha.

My question is, has anyone noticed any changes in the upcoming schedules? Service reductions from Abu Dhabi? Service additions from Bahrain or Muscat?

Gulf Air which operated the Bahrain - Beirut route on a daily A330-200 has just upgraded the flight on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays to an A340-300 with the start of the spring schedule.

In June it will go to daily A340-300 and they will launch a 2nd flight operating daily except Friday and Sunday on A320-200 for a total of 12 flights a week.

This is a pretty big increase in capacity.

This makes Gulf Air the 2nd largest gulf carrier in Beirut following Emirates (except in the summer when Saudi Arabian Airlines is the largest).

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Photo © Vatche Mitilian
View Large View Medium
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Photo © Vatche Mitilian


Gulf Air was forced to discontinue their Abu Dhabi - Beirut route last year due to difficult competition from Etihad Airways and instead signed a code-share agreement with MEA to put their code on MEA's 5x weekly services to/from Abu Dhabi on A321-200s.

The code-share, however, just ended with the start of the spring schedule.

Etihad Airways will be increasing their Beirut service to daily A330-200 soon.

What other cuts is Gulf Air doing and when can we expect Abu Dhabi to completely lose its status as a hub for Gulf Air?
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
FOMEA
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Sun Apr 02, 2006 9:17 am

Quoting BA (Thread starter):
Gulf Air which operated the Bahrain - Beirut route on a daily A330-200 has just upgraded the flight on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays to an A340-300 with the start of the spring schedule.

In June it will go to daily A340-300 and they will launch a 2nd flight operating daily except Friday and Sunday on A320-200 for a total of 12 flights a week

wow, That is quite an increase ..
Those pics look Amazing too.

Quoting BA (Thread starter):
Etihad Airways will be increasing their Beirut service to daily A330-200 soon.

What does EY currently fly to BEY?
Mix or 767?
daily?


Regards
F-OMEA.
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Sabena332
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Sun Apr 02, 2006 9:27 am

Very interesting topic! I am also curious what will happen to GF's AUH operations since the government of Abu Dhabi announced that they won't be a shareholder anymore.

Patrick
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CRGsFuture
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Sun Apr 02, 2006 9:32 am

I think GF's AUH will slowly phased out, it might be at a crawl but we won't see much of them slowly anymore at AUH.
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BA
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Sun Apr 02, 2006 2:45 pm

Quoting FOMEA (Reply 1):
What does EY currently fly to BEY?
Mix or 767?
daily?

It was a mix of A330 and 767 until the start of the Spring schedule.

It's now 4x weekly A330.

Quoting CRGsFuture (Reply 3):
I think GF's AUH will slowly phased out, it might be at a crawl but we won't see much of them slowly anymore at AUH.

Indeed, it's bound to happen.
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
BHMNONREV
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Sun Apr 02, 2006 3:31 pm

Quoting BA (Thread starter):
What other cuts is Gulf Air doing and when can we expect Abu Dhabi to completely lose its status as a hub for Gulf Air?

Good question, but it will be a shame to lose AUH as an option on GF from KWI, it's a very nice airport to connect in. I will miss the big "circus tent" departure lounge with the little piano bar..  Sad

Not sure if Etihad will pick up flights from KWI to AUH, but I would certainly like to give them a try in the future..
 
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Fly-K
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Sun Apr 02, 2006 3:36 pm

According to my info, all of GF's AUH ops has been shut down already, the only flights remaining are to the GF hubs BAH and MCT.
This means that GF uses the AUH capacity to grow in BAH and MCT.

Number of weekly departures
(source: OAG) APR06 APR05
AUH 57 183
BAH 339 233
MCT 174 124

As you can see the total is the same (or slightly higher).
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blrBird
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Sun Apr 02, 2006 3:56 pm

Quoting BA (Thread starter):
has anyone noticed any changes in the upcoming schedules?

I happen to come across one MCT-BLR is showing up as daily instead of current 3x weekly.
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BA
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Sun Apr 02, 2006 4:17 pm

Quoting Fly-K (Reply 6):
According to my info, all of GF's AUH ops has been shut down already, the only flights remaining are to the GF hubs BAH and MCT.

I believe you're right. I just noticed that flights to LHR, DAM, AMM, CAI are all gone now.

I know AUH-BEY was cut a year ago, before the government Abu Dhabi announced it was pulling out of Gulf Air, but then again, Beirut was Etihad Airways' first destination and flooded the market quickly.

Quoting BlrBird (Reply 7):
I happen to come across one MCT-BLR is showing up as daily instead of current 3x weekly.

Thanks for the info. I just also spotted that MCT-LHR has gone up to 13x weekly from daily with the introduction of a 2nd flight operating daily except Thursday.

I hope these capacity increases from BAH and MCT are sustainable...
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
BHMNONREV
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Sun Apr 02, 2006 4:49 pm

Quoting BA (Reply 8):
I hope these capacity increases from BAH and MCT are sustainable

With over 100 flights per week increase from BAH, I would certainly hope so too..
 
B747-4U3
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Sun Apr 02, 2006 7:34 pm

Gulf Traveller's flights to Jakarta now run from MCT instead of AUH
 
highpeaklad
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Sun Apr 02, 2006 8:33 pm

Quoting BHMNONREV (Reply 5):
Good question, but it will be a shame to lose AUH as an option on GF from KWI, it's a very nice airport to connect in. I will miss the big "circus tent" departure lounge with the little piano bar..




I won't, the airport is cramped and boring. Not enough seats, hardly enough floor space to sit on, small windows, the piano bar is not small, its tiny - 4 stools against a shelf in a little cupbourd and it was closed.

I spent the worst six hours of my life cooped up here - good riddance!

liked GF though



Chris
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BHMNONREV
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Sun Apr 02, 2006 9:02 pm

Quoting Highpeaklad (Reply 11):
I spent the worst six hours of my life cooped up here - good riddance!

I can't think of any airport to spend six hours in and have an enjoyable experience..lol

I guess I have come thru there at better times, was not very crowded. And those tall cold Heinies at the piano bar were most welcome after not having a drop of alcohol for months at a time...  Wink
 
speedbird128
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Sun Apr 02, 2006 9:16 pm

Quoting CRGsFuture (Reply 3):
think GF's AUH will slowly phased out, it might be at a crawl

Nope - it's been full steam ahead and pretty much complete. With nothing much more than a few AUH-MCT and BAH flights, they are all pretty much gone...
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BBADXB
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Mon Apr 03, 2006 2:06 am

Did the departure of GF from AUH leave the city somewhat underserved?

What European longhaul flights did GF operate out of AUH? Thx for the info.
 
speedbird128
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Mon Apr 03, 2006 2:10 am

BBADXB,

GFA only served Heathrow from Abu Dhabi. This is no big loss, as Etihad has that covered, in addition to Manchester and Gatwick. As far as Europe goes - EY also operate to Brussels, Frankfurt, Munich, Geneva, and Paris will be coming on line soon too.

There are only few destinations not served by Etihad presently.... Can't think of many off-hand. I know Doha is one. I will figure out tomorrow when at work again...
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B747-4U3
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Mon Apr 03, 2006 2:51 am

Quoting Highpeaklad (Reply 11):
I won't, the airport is cramped and boring. Not enough seats, hardly enough floor space to sit on, small windows, the piano bar is not small, its tiny - 4 stools against a shelf in a little cupbourd and it was closed.

I spent the worst six hours of my life cooped up here - good riddance!

liked GF though



Chris

I have been through this experience several times as well. Unfortunately I have always passed through AUH at peak times, where it always seems to be full of immigrant workers fast asleep over 4 seats, which means there is no where else for anyone to sit. The eating and shopping options are pathetic, and if you are spending 6hrs transiting there, there is bugger all to do- especially at night when you can't see much out of the windows.

I do however like the terminal from an architectural point of view, but my admiration for that only last for 15minutes or so, then I get pissed off at how crowded it is.
 
speedbird128
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Mon Apr 03, 2006 3:08 am

Quoting B747-4U3 (Reply 16):
I have been through this experience several times as well. Unfortunately I have always passed through AUH at peak times, where it always seems to be full of immigrant workers fast asleep over 4 seats, which means there is no where else for anyone to sit. The eating and shopping options are pathetic, and if you are spending 6hrs transiting there, there is bugger all to do- especially at night when you can't see much out of the windows.

Change is happening here slowly in AUH. Low-cost carriers now have their own terminal (probably better than the current main terminal). Air India (and Express India), Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Sri Lankan, Bangladesh, Aero Asia, Shaheen etc all use that terminal.

This alleviates the congestion during peak hours. With the departure of GFA and their subsidiary Gulf Traveller, it should be a bit better now. Also, the ustairs coffee shop has been upgraded a few notches. Although there is still no fast-food (or similar) outlet. Only Costa's.

There are plans to have a new terminal for Etihad contructed next to the new apron - which would also be grand.

Then long-term is the new mid-field airport which will be a completely new airport being completed in 3 stages over the next 10 or so years.

But, you are ultimately correct - the current terminal building is a big let-down... Hopefully they realise this and have put some urgency into upgrading and/or getting the new terminal done asap (I doubt it though).
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BHMNONREV
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:24 pm

Quoting BBADXB (Reply 14):
What European longhaul flights did GF operate out of AUH? Thx for the info



Quoting Speedbird128 (Reply 15):
GFA only served Heathrow from Abu Dhabi.

When did they stop AUH-CDG? Took that flight sometime during the summer of 2004, and it was absolutely jam-packed, although on the CDG end they used the crappy T1. Never did like that place..

With a major shift of flights to BAH, can the terminal handle the increase? I have been thru there several times where we parked on a hard stand and were bussed to the terminal due to lack of gate space. With an increase of approximately 14-15 flights per day, just where will they go?..
 
BA
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Mon Apr 03, 2006 1:06 pm

Quoting BHMNONREV (Reply 18):
With a major shift of flights to BAH, can the terminal handle the increase? I have been thru there several times where we parked on a hard stand and were bussed to the terminal due to lack of gate space. With an increase of approximately 14-15 flights per day, just where will they go?..

BAH is in need of expansion.

They are supposed to be working on a terminal expansion to double the number of gates soon.
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SWISSER
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:15 pm

Some latest rumours from the HQ of GF in BAH,
soon we will place an order for the complete renewal of the widebody fleet and we hear a contant presence of Airbus here.
The budget available for the new fleet is in quite some billions.
They are however sure they will stick to 1 manufacterer and defenitly no A380.

Also New York is talked about in the hallways (A345, 77LR?) and the company will fully concentrate on BAH and MCT hubs and so said they see it as an advantage to withdraw out of AUH.

The 767's will be fully exposed of.
Best regards from BAH guys!
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MANmatt
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:58 pm

According to the LHR spotters website the GF flights to/from AUH are still operating. According to the site GF009 and GF004 to/from AUH was operated by A40-KA yesterday.

Matt
 
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Fly-K
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:13 pm

Quoting MANmatt (Reply 21):
According to the site GF009 and GF004 to/from AUH was operated by A40-KA yesterday.

These are both nonstop LHR-MCT flights.
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MANmatt
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:25 pm

Quoting Fly-K (Reply 22):
These are both nonstop LHR-MCT flights

Ok, so what is GF's LHR operation now left with? Twice daily to BAH and twice daily to MCT?

Matt
 
behramjee
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:10 pm

GF is starting 4 weekly nonstop A 330-200 flights from MCT to CDG.

The flight schedule, starting 1 July 2006, will be as follows:

Muscat to Paris Charles de Gaulle
GF 0029 departing 14:00 arriving 20:20

Paris Charles de Gaulle to Muscat
GF0028 departing 21:50 arriving 07:05

Gulf Air has announced 69 additional flights from its Muscat hub to popular destinations in its network beginning this summer.

This includes introduction of new services to Paris, Amman, Dammam, Kathmandu, Sana'a, Islamabad, and Jakarta and, increasing its services to some of its existing destinations, a total of 195 flights per week out of Muscat compared with its current schedule of 126 flights per week.

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Flying Belgian
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Tue Apr 04, 2006 3:50 am

What about Oman Air ? Is it really a big threat ?


FB.
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Humberside
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Tue Apr 04, 2006 5:43 am

Quoting Flying Belgian (Reply 25):
What about Oman Air ? Is it really a big threat ?

I know Oman Air have wanted to go long haul in the past. If they re-visit those plans then I fear Gulf Air will be shutting another hub.
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SWISSER
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RE: The Downsizing Of Gulf Air's Abu Dhabi Hub

Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:34 am

Quoting Flying Belgian (Reply 25):
What about Oman Air ? Is it really a big threat ?

Oman air is a very good and strategic partner of GF, and the consulate of Oman still supports GF.
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