LONDON – Bahrain’s national carrier Gulf Air inaugurated its double daily service between Bahrain International Airport and London-Heathrow (LHR) over the weekend.
The airline deployed its newly acquired Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to fly this important route.
Gulf Air CEO, Krešimir Kučko, revealed that “passenger feedback on our inaugural London-Heathrow Dreamliner service was overwhelmingly positive.”
“As we introduce our newest aircraft on Gulf Air’s London-Heathrow route and meld cutting-edge technology and infrastructure with traditional warmth and hospitality, your roles are more critical than ever in making lasting, positive experiences for our passengers,” told the CEO to his Staff.
Gulf Air Enjoying Its New Dreamliner
The plane sits 282 passengers in a two-class configuration, featuring 26 seats in Falcon Gold Class as well as 256 seats in economy, representing a 30%+ plus increase in the airline’s capacity.
Gulf Air welcomed its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner back in April 2018. The airline rapidly deployed the plane on long-haul routes.
By the end of 2018, Gulf Air expects to serve 49 destinations across 26 different countries globally.
Captain Waleed Abdulhameed Al-Alawi, the carrier’s Deputy CEO, admitted being “delighted to honor those members of our workforce who have truly embraced not only their roles as integral members of the Gulf Air family but also the culture of our national carrier which pushes us all to strive for excellence in all that we do.”
The opening of this second-daily service to LHR represents a significant milestone for the airline, as it continues to grow behind the shadow of larger Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad.
The second LHR service coded as Flight GF3, will depart Bahrain at 10:10 and arrive into Heathrow at 15:20, with the return, Flight GF6 departing Heathrow at 22:05 and arriving into Bahrain at 06:40 the next day.
As our partner website TheDesignAir reports, Gulf Air, once the cream of the crop in the Middle East, sadly started to slip against the backdrop of the now globally-famous ‘ME Three’. Aging hard products and a limited route network meant the carrier was very rarely the top of passengers preferences.
However, things might be about to change. Gone the heavy golden and navy livery, now replaced with a brand new design featuring golden nacelles, large logotype and refreshed Falcon tail fin logo. The design, which is certainly a lot more contemporary, loses some of its originality but makes up for it with a more contemporary and bold visual statement. Eagle-eyed readers might notice the logotype has a layer of shadow built in, offering a 3D effect to the typeface.
Inside, the aircraft shows off a far more radical change. In economy, the 3 x 3 x 3 seating, normal to a 787-9 now, features large TV screens, a lot of storage and bi-fold tray tables, offering economy passengers enhanced space and utilization.
In business class, however, the airline has done an Olympic leap-jump from its current ‘lie-flat’ flat-bed 2 x 2 x 2 seats. Opting for Apex Suites, the seats now offer all-aisle access. While the hard product is the same as those found on Japan Airlines and Oman Air, the trim and finishes that the airline has opted for is highly customized. (Although, not sure what the Orchid is doing on the table in the image below)
This means there are a variety of textures which reflect and capture the airline’s mood light with a wealth of matt ash, champagne and brushed golden trim complementing the neutral seat shell colors. There is a range of seating arrangements, the center pairs offer side by side seating, while the side pairs are slightly staggered to allow for aisle access, meaning the aisle seats here also offer a small storage unit by the seat while upright.
We are incredibly pleasantly surprised to see this product upgrade, which is less of a matter of keeping up with the local competition, and more a matter of offering a cabin class-leading product. Hopefully, the new livery and hard product will re-inject life into the cabin crew, to create a product that inspires pride in the carrier for years to come.