By Gemma Greenwood
Gulf Air CEO has a dig over capacity claims.
Gulf Air is performing more efficiently than Etihad Airways, the former airline's chief executive has claimed.
"Our 27 aircraft are carrying almost six million passengers per year. That's the highest number of passengers Gulf Air has carried with less aircraft. Compare this to Etihad Airways with 42 aircraft and six million passengers - so who is doing better?" said Gulf Air CEO Björn Näf.
He was speaking to ATN during an exclusive interview where he outlined some of the Bahrain flag carrier's key achievements in the last 12 months.
Näf noted that in August, Gulf Air achieved 80% seat load factors - "the highest in its history" and that in October, punctuality hit the 85% mark.
"Around 18 months ago we were in the 30s," he said.
Björn Näf took the driving seat at Gulf Air more than a year ago replacing fellow Swiss national and former Crossair CEO André Dosé whose stint heading up the airline was short-lived due to disagreements with the Gulf Air board.
Dosé had replaced James Hogan who was poached to head up Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad Airways in 2006.
Hogan's tenure at Gulf Air saw him successfully re-brand the carrier, but at the time of his departure the airline's ongoing success was under scrutiny.
Under Hogan, Etihad Airways has gone from strength to strength and is on track to fly six million passengers in 2008.
The carrier has set its sights on flying 25 million passengers a year by 2020 and doubling the number of cities it serves from 50 to 100.
Well Gulf Air is doing pretty well. I traveled via it recently and the service is the best in my opinion. Some of the 340s aren't fitted with individual TV screens but the service made up for the absence of TV. Well, I agree with this article, Gulf Air is gonna beat Etihad.