Gulf air

How to find your niche

March 25, 2020

Gulf Air is rolling out its new boutique airline concept which challenges First class standards and targets a premium niche. Julie Baxter discovers more

FOCUS ON FOUNDATIONS

Gulf Air marks its 70th anniversary this year. With a long tradition in the Middle East region, it is determined to punch above its weight as it looks to the future.

BUILD ON SUCCESS
Krešimir Kučko joined the airline in 2017 to steer its transition. He says: “We established some key corporate goals, primarily to be the best in class; to focus on innovation; and to serve our home base, the Kingdom of Bahrain. We are combining traditional Arabian hospitality and an inheritance that stretches back to the 1950s to build a modern and pioneering passenger experience.”

TAILOR THE STRATEGY
The team has focused on a ‘boutique’ strategy with strong attention to detail and premium quality. Kučko, says: “For us, ‘boutique’ means passengers are not a number, they are treated with full attention across the whole journey.”

INVEST IN THE FUTURE
The carrier ordered 39 new aircraft to be flying by 2023. The Dreamliner launched on long-haul routes and seven are now flying; while five operational A320neos are the first in the region. Kučko, says: “The technology is fantastic and helps us transform the passenger experience. They launched with new branding, new logo and new uniforms.”

IDENTIFY YOUR NICHE
He adds: “Every airline needs a niche and the boutique concept was perfect for us because this is really what we are. We have big neighbours but we don’t try to compete with them on style – we are focused on personalised service and a high-end onboard offer.”

RESPOND TO THE MARKET
Kučko concludes: “The region expects high standards and our Falcon Gold Class (Business plus) and Economy (using seats certified for Premium Economy) reflect that. While we have 26 seats in Falcon Gold, rather than the six or so you see in First, I really don’t think there are many airlines with a First offer that is better than this. More Business tickets are being sold than ever, and we feel this level of service in Business will be a gamechanger.