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Wed 12 Feb 2014 12:16 PM

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Minister confesses "no one wants Gulf Air CEO job"

Bahrain’s Transport Minister reveals national airline can’t find anyone willing to take on top job in last 12mths

Minister confesses "no one wants Gulf Air CEO job"
Mumtalakat has injected $1bn into Gulf Air as it seeks to redefine itself in the Gulf’s aviation market.

Bahrain’s Transport Minister has confessed that no
international chief executive is willing to take on the top job at national
carrier Gulf Air because of perceived government interference.

Kamal Ahmed revealed in parliament on Tuesday that the
loss-making airline had been rejected by several international airline managers
approached for the CEO role, Gulf Daily News reported.

Gulf Air has been without a CEO since it removed former Royal Jordanian boss Samer Majali
in 2012.

At the same
time it replaced two boards of directors, while there are now complaints
that the airline’s board lacks the expertise required to run an international
airline. The board includes several Cabinet members, who were appointed to
their government roles by the Emir.

"For 12 months we have been searching for a chief
executive officer, but no one wants to work [at Gulf Air] because experts don't
want interference from the government or parliament in their work, and despite
assurances, no one is willing to accept the job," he was quoted as saying.

"Top Bahraini experts have been approached, but they
too refused to accept, because they don't want to be powerless and want to be
real decision makers.”

Ahmed also defended the level of expertise on the board.

"Parliament is saying that the board lacks knowledge
in the airline industry, but there are three businessmen within it who run
multi-million dinar companies in Bahrain," he said.

"We don't need ticket sellers or pilots, we need
people who can develop the airline and we chose most board members from the
Cabinet because we wanted stability first and then in future board members will
be mostly from the aviation sector.”

Gulf Air lost BD89.5m ($237m) last year, after posting a
BD200m loss in 2012, according to figures released to parliament by Ahmed.

He said the airline expected to reduce losses to BD70m
this year under a plan to restructure the business and achieve profitability.

Ahmed said unused aircraft that had been parked were now
operative, while the airline had added new destinations and increased the
number of hours airline staff worked while in the air from 10 to 12.

He said the number of Bahraini citizens working for the national
carrier had risen to 65 percent, compared to only 20 percent at other Gulf
airlines.

In November, the airline said it had reduced its overall
workforce by about 27 percent.

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H. Dadlani 6 years ago

Hope Gulf Air finds an appropriate CEO who can bring the Airline back into motion and create profits.

All the Best .... Gulf Air.

We miss yr flights from Bahrain to Tehran !!

footloose 6 years ago

I say close the airline ..it wont work with EK/EY/QR around and with political interference ,its a no go.

Naser Karmi 6 years ago

I would refer you to what IBM did sometime ago, they brought Lou Gresner as a CEO from Kellogg. Gulf Air may Solicit somebody from out side the industry. EY, EK and QR are not magical, I hope to see Gulf Air do a serious competition to those snobs

Bahraini Patriot 6 years ago

Although I continue to support both Gulf Air, my country Bahrain and have tremendous respect for Kamal Ahmed himself what he said (if quoted correctly) is pure rubbish. The board members may have experience in running their family firms however that does NOT mean they are qualified to run an airline. It takes a truly great manager to run a profitable airline in todays competitive market (if no government support is present). There needs to be checks and balances on these new board members. Have any of their companies WON gulfair contracts since their appointments I wonder? Bahrain would be better served by closing the airline and/or replacing all senior managers as corruption is to deeply routed to be cleaned by a change of the board.

Chris 6 years ago

I miss Bahrain Air for semi-convenient, discount travel. Gulf Air has never lived up to its own perception of itself. Would rather fly Emirates, Qatar Air, Etihad, etc. ..

alex 6 years ago

GulfAir is the worst airlines ever. They delayed my flight for hours and boarded in no time leaving me behind. Complaining to the GulfAir main office in the airport of Bahrain did me no good. They were uncooperative, rude, unprofessional, arrogant and disrespectful. No compensation whatsoever was granted.