Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, January 14

Gulf Air has been able to carry over six million revenue passengers in 2003, which is the highest number ever carried in a single year by the airlines.

The airlines received one of the best possible indicators that it was on the road to recovery with revelation that more than six million revenue passengers had flown with the airlines in 2003. According to a press release issued here today, the figures revealed that over half a million more passengers flew with Gulf Air compared to 2002, an increase of over 10 per cent and nearly two million increase against ten years ago figures. James Hogan, president and chief executive of Gulf Air, said that the re-shaping of the airline had been conducted with one single goal in mind and that was to provide the best possible benefits to customers.

"The true judges of whether we are on the right track with our restructuring programme are our passengers," he said. "They certainly have given us a vote of confidence during 2003 and we aim to ensure they continue to fly with us, with a programme of continuous improvements to products and services in 2004."

The record figure is even more significant against the backdrop of one of the most difficult years in the global aviation industry and increased local competition, states the release. The year 2003 has seen a reduction in Gulf Air losses from BD40.6 million to around BD20 million, and this year is expected to reach the break even point, achieving profitability in 2005. The year has also seen the introduction of several new destinations, including Kochi, Bangalore and Kolkata in India, Athens and Sydney, while growth in the network was complemented by simultaneous fleet expansion.