Bahrain-Beirut flights resume
Manama, May 18, 2008
Flights between Bahrain and Beirut have resumed with three return trips in the past two days, it has emerged.
Gulf Air's first flight left Bahrain International Airport at 11am on Friday and another left on Saturday at 11.20am, according airport officials.
Bahrain Air also resumed service to Rafik Hariri International Airport on Saturday with an 11.05am flight, carrying 50 passengers.
The airlines had suspended services to and from Beirut earlier this month after rising unrest in the country caused the closure of the city's airport.
'We have re-launched our flights and are among the first to operate to Beirut,' Bahrain Air managing director Ibrahim Al Hamer told a Press conference held at the airline's stand at the Bahrain International Travel Exhibition.
The four-day event ended at the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre on Friday and the airline's participation was an important part of its marketing campaign.
'We will continue as per our schedule subject to the stability and safety of the airport,' said Al Hamer.
'We had suspended our services for more than a week and there were people who were stranded.'
'But during the closure of the airport, we were in touch with our passengers and encouraged them to take land transportation to Damascus and from there we accommodated them on our network back to the Gulf.
Al Hamer said it was the Lebanese government's decision to re-open the airport.
Gulf Air chief operating officer Bjorn Naf said passenger demand remained high on the route, despite the recent political unrest.
'Obviously, we have done a security assessment and are in contact with people in Lebanon,' he said.
'Our internal security department has declared it safe and our first flight did very well with about 60 per cent capacity.'
Meanwhile, Bahrain Air announced it will begin four weekly flights to Saudi Arabia from June 11 and hopes to introduce a daily flight to Kuwait and a service to Bangladesh by October.
Al Hamer also ruled out any rise in air fares related to the soaring price of oil prices, despite fears it could eventually reach $200 per barrel.
'It is a concern for everybody and the only way to circumvent this is to become more efficient and reduce the other costs,' he said. 'But the rising costs mean the profit margins will be less, if any. We are not going to increase fuel surcharge just now.'-TradeArabia News Service