Bahrain ministry defends move on Gulf Air
Manama, January 16, 2012
Bahrain's Foreign Ministry last night (January 15) responded to a story in our sister paper the Gulf Daily News (GDN) claiming that a row had broken out between the minister and Gulf Air over seating arrangements during a recent flight from Kuala Lumpur.
The GDN reported yesterday that Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa was said to be so dissatisfied that he issued a memo to the ministry staff, urging them not to fly with the national carrier.
The ministry's media, studies and research directorate said in a statement that it was an administrative decision, which was not directly linked to the situation involving the minister even though it was part of it.
The "unexpected standards" of service by the airline, including frequent flight delays, was a problem that the ministry had brought to the airline's notice but had not received any reply, it said.
The GDN reported that the alleged wrangle began when flight GF283 to Bahrain was delayed for technical reasons. Passengers, including the minister, were accommodated on another flight the following day. However, disputes arose when the minister was not given his preferred seat when he boarded the flight.
The ministry said that the minister's booking had been cancelled by the airline and his confirmed seat given to another passenger despite prior assurances.
Unprofessional dealing with the ministry's diplomats and employees had resulted in the decision, it said.
While the ministry will take into consideration that Gulf Air is the national carrier, it will take the best option available in terms of prices and services, it said. This was an option for any national public establishment seeking better and comfortable services for its staff, the statement added.
"We hope that Gulf Air provides and improves competitive services that encourages the ministry to reconsider dealing with it in future." - TradeArabia News Service