BAHRAIN Air has opened a new regional sales office in Dubai, UAE. Recently restructured as a hybrid airline offering both Business and Economy Class service, Bahrain Air has introduced a new dimension and brought back ‘style’ into short haul travel. The Kingdom’s second national carrier operates to 18 destinations across the GCC, Levant, Africa and the Indian Sub-Continent. Attending the opening ceremony was HE Mohammed Hamad Al Moauda, Bahrain’s ambassador to the UAE; Captain Ibrahim A. Al Hamer, managing director of Bahrain Air; Richard Nuttall, director commercial operations and Hanif Zakaria, regional sales manager, Gulf and Saudi Arabia who will head the Dubai office.
“Dubai is a much bigger market than Bahrain with so much activity taking place constantly. We have flights coming in and out all the time and it was high time we had our own representation here.
“We currently operate sixteen flights a week in and out of Dubai and expect a boost in traffic, with our presence here. The new office will enhance our distribution and visibility in this growing market,” said Nuttall.
“Our route to Dubai has been very consistent since it was launched. The double-daily route has always been one of our strongest route. After Bahrain, Dubai is one regional route that has enough traffic to look after itself,” he added.
The recent political unrests in Bahrain did hamper the airlines expansion plans to a certain extent. “At the time, we were looking at developing new routes to Iraq and Iran, but had to stop them we had to stop flying to Lebanon for a while. We also stopped flying to Egypt and Syria.
“We found that we had this whole section of the region that we were not flying to and that affected our network and we had to make some changes. Our morning flight out of Doha was cancelled since it had no where to feed to. We also had to cancel flights to Riyadh, Kathmandu and Dhaka. The Kathmandu route have started since, which also opened a route to Jeddah. Basically it affected the whole network.
“Dubai was one of the few routes that weren’t affected at all. Other routes like Cochin and Calicut too remained strong.”
As far as expanding into new markets, Nuttall added while it is possible to get traffic rights, a lot of them are currently held by Gulf Air. “For example, Gulf Air has a lot of rights to India that we would use tomorrow, but can’t because they hold those rights.
“In terms of expansion, we will announce new destinations in the next couple of months, and hope that Iraq will be one of them.”
Bahrain Air has gone from being a low cost carried to a premium service carrier offering passengers a Business and Economy class, 30 kgs luggage, different fare options and meal on board. The airline has also developed a new distribution model, from being purely through the web to working with the trade. “We get about 30 per cent of our business through the website” he added.
With their new office, the airline’s first direct sales office outside of Bahrain the airline is looking to establish stronger ties markets.
He added: “With our expanding team of professionals, our presence in Dubai will also allow us to provide greater support and care to our customers, as well as expand our activities within the GCC. We have a dedicated Call Centre for the Dubai market which is available daily from 9am till mid night”.
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