Bahrain MPs vote to replace Gulf Air board

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Gulf Air

Gulf Air

Bahrain’s parliament has voted to replace the entire Gulf Air board of directors, just one month after appointing a new one to oversee the airline’s restructuring plan, it has been reported.

MPs also voted in favour of getting rid of two new consultancy firms hired to help turn the ailing airline around, Gulf Daily News said.

“Gulf Air has suffered enough from boards lacking knowledge in the past and because of that, firms that are not specialised have been brought in to provide help - but instead of doing so, they have drained the company further,” MP Abdulhameed Al Meer said in parliament yesterday.

Gulf Air has been struggling to compete against GCC rivals amid rising fuel prices and declining passenger numbers. The carrier was also hit hard by last year’s regional political instability.

The carrier, which once had the biggest network in the Gulf, has axed several routes from its network in recent months as it moves to stem its losses.

The airline has slashed the number of its destinations from 120 to 40 and has said as many as 1,800 staff could be laid off as part of a deal to secure a BD185m ($490.8m) bailout.

Samer Majali, the CEO bought in to restructure the airline’s operations in 2009, resigned in November. Majali will remain in his position until the end of the year.

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Posted by: Pete Emily

As in many parts of the country, Gulf Air has in the past appointed many expats, particularly in non technical positions such as administration, paying full expat status contracts which could and should be filled by Bahrain Nationals. In addition, "jobs for life" for Bahraini Nationals must be addressed as it results in many non productive employees still on the pay list. GF needs to be run as a proper profit based business, not a Government funded Employment agency.

Posted by: RAH

It is sad for a couple of readers here to think that by firing locals, both Gulf Air and Kuwait Airways would start to be profitable. Locals in both countries do have the potential (and brains) to run an airline business (look at Kuwait's Jazeera Airways).

The problem does not lie with the locals. The problem lies with the governments (and parliaments) who meddle too much.

Give the airlines to competent locals, inject capital, and move away. The carriers will be able to survive thereafter.

Posted by: DaveM

Taimur
They have already done that (several times) - the current CEO is an excellent airline boss. He turned round Jordanian Air.
The problems are twofold:
1. Government interference eg stopping Gulf Air from flying to their most lucrative destinations eg Iran and Iraq.
2. Too many staff. Over the years way too many staff have been hired and many of them are Bahrainis. It is politically unacceptable to make them redundant. They need to cut the workforce by 2000 (many of them being locals).

Posted by: Mumeen

Yes, this so called Consultancy is a killer. The CEOs and the Board Members sip tea while delegating their core work to outsource consultancies. Actually, its best to ask the expat staff working in Gulf Air how the company can turn around and I can guarantee that you will hear and know the best ideas, and the best way to go about at no extra cost, and with inherent motivation of the staff in being involved.

Same thing is happening with Kuwait Airways too! Consultancies and endless seemingly unprofitable researches. Kuwait Airways too can turn around in no time but, expat staff must be trusted and given due responsibility, executive authority and non-interference by national work-force. Unfortunately the national work force has not contributed to productivity but has been a great financial and administrative burden.

Posted by: Taimur Rana

hire a good experience CEO and leave it up to him ....the parliament shouldn't get involved and let the CEO do the work !! and wait for the figures to be released at end of the year

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