One million passengers lost to Bahrain Air closure
Manama, February 7, 2014
By Ahmed Al Omari
Bahrain lost more than a million passengers last year as a result of Bahrain Air going into voluntary liquidation, said a report citing government figures.
The restructuring of Gulf Air also played a major role in a 13 per cent drop in the number of people passing through Bahrain International Airport, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
They fell from 8.48 million in 2012 to 7.37 million last year, says the latest Transportation Ministry aircraft movement summary.
An industry expert said air traffic in Bahrain also fell 12 per cent last year, mostly because of the closure of Bahrain Air.
"It used to run five aircraft flying mostly short distances multiple times a day and because it would offer cheap flights, it was immensely popular," said the official, who wished to remain anonymous.
"So when it stopped, all these frequent low-cost flights were lost to other low-cost airlines of which Bahrain has none.
"The airline also had great timings that suited many people, now those slots are being lost to other countries.
"It is an overall loss for the country as Gulf Air can't provide the same pricing and therefore people are using other airlines."
A Bahrain Airport Company spokeswoman yesterday said other airlines had taken advantage of the situation to fill the gap in the market.
According to her, the mMarket changes have had an effect on the airport's operations. "However, this presented lucrative opportunities for other carriers," she pointed out.
"Passenger traffic started picking up, towards the end of 2013 and in early 2014, through other airlines that increased flights frequency to accommodate the gap following closure of Bahrain Air," she stated.
"Also we should note that all airlines operating at Bahrain International Airport are our partners in success - therefore, their success is ours," she added.
Bahrain Air went into voluntary liquidation on February 12 and, as the GDN reported on Wednesday, is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy.
It means the 345 people who lost their jobs and are seeking severance packages and companies allegedly owed more than BD4 million could end up with nothing. Passengers who bought 22,000 tickets rendered worthless when the airline cancelled its operations could also lose out, the report added.-TradeArabia News Service