Gulf Air is the national airline of the Kingdom of Bahrain. The company operates international scheduled flights to about 40 destinations in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Its airport of reference or hub is the International Airport of Barein. The company logo represents a golden hawk.
The airline does not belong to any alliance, while it maintains agreements with the global Oneworld alliance to offer better rates in certain routes. It also performs code-share operations with other airlines and their passengers can benefit from some of the advantages of the loyalty programs of Jet Airways and Oman Air.
In the late 1940s, Freddie Bosworth, an entrepreneur and British pilot, launched a service taxi that was to cover the routes of Doha and Dhahran from Bahrain. Bosworth then subsequently expanded this service and on March 24, 1950 changed the face of the company transforming it from a simple aero-taxi company and turning it into a private airline. In doing so it has become now, one of the main carriers for business travelers in the Middle East.
The split in the road for the airline came in 1973, when the Kingdom of Bahrain, the State of Qatar, of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the Sultanate of Oman (all four governments of the Gulf states) purchased shares of the company. The foundation that was born with this maneuver gave life to the current Airline: each government has a stake of 25 %; the airline became the national carrier, for the four states of the Persian Gulf. The first years were not very profitable and therefore on several occasions the airline thought about declaring bankruptcy. Since 1980, thanks to the implementation of an intelligent marketing policy, Gulf Air has seen a significant increase in air traffic and growth. From that time forward, the airline increased its routes even outside of the Middle East and purchased new aircraft for an even more modern and efficient fleet.
In the year 2000, the airline celebrated its first 50 years of activity. In 2004, Gulf Air introduced direct flights between Dubai and London and Muscat and London. In addition, a daily service between Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah has been established. The aairline transported a record of 7.5 million passengers during the course of this year.
On April 28, 2006, with the issuance of the new flight schedule, the airline changed its hub of reference: which would no longer be that of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (which was instead assigned to the airline Etihad Airways) it new hub would be that of Bahrain. During the same year, the Government of Bahrain and Thailand signed an Open Skies agreement, which has allowed the creation of flights without restrictions between the two nations.
On November 6, 2007, Gulf Air started its non-stop operation of a flight to/from London Heathrow airport. The same day, Gulf Air Bahrain acquired 100% ownership of its stock.