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, 27 (ANI-Business Wire India): Bahrain's national carrier Gulf Air today marked its successful 31 years of service to New Delhi, reinforcing its longstanding relationship with the country.
On the occasion, the airline also unveiled its new A321 aircraft featuring full flatbed seats, for the first time in its class, on India routes.
Commemorating the historic 31-year landmark, Gulf Air also announced a series of commercial initiatives tailored to the Indian market both for individual customers and corporates.
Addressing the media at a press conference here, Gulf Air Chief Commercial Officer Karim Makhlouf said: "Bahrain has a special place for India as the relationship between the two countries is more than 5000 years old marked by active sea trade and commerce. Today, Bahrain is the second home to nearly 400,000 Indians and the total trade between India and Bahrain last year reachedUS USD 1.7 billion.
"As far Gulf Air, we are proud of the fact Gulf Air was one of the first Gulf carriers into India landing in Mumbai in November 1971. We started our service to the Indian capital in 1981 and since then we have been serving four key cities of India - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kochi. Today we offer 16600 seats a week between these cities and Bahrain including double-daily flights to Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai."
Makhlouf also unveiled the new A321 aircraft being introduced on the Indian routes, "Keeping in mind the large volume traffic between India and Bahrain and our commitment to offer best-in-class products and services to our Indian customers, I am glad to introduce the Airbus A321 aircraft on our Indian routes.
The aircraft, for the first time, offers full flatbed in its class with several innovative features including an in-seat massage mechanism that can be operated by the passenger. In addition the single aisle aircraft offers more legroom, extra galley space for movement and comes with the latest inflight entertainment of its class."
He continued, "As the largest Middle East network carrier with excellent onward connectivity to Africa and Europe, we offer our Indian travellers seamless and faster connections in less than 3 hours giving you a choice of as many as 730 flights a week to the Gulf, Middle East, North Africa and Europe via our efficient hub Bahrain."
"As we commemorate this 31-year historical landmark, we reiterate our commitment to the Indian market and we will continue to connect you with the Gulf and beyond," Makhlouf concluded.
During the conference, Makhlouf also unveiled the airline's new commercial initiatives exclusive to the Indian market. These included Falcon Corporate Plus, a package designed exclusively for corporate travellers, offering a range of benefits that include special price discounts and free upgrades from economy to Falcon Gold class.
The airline has also come up with an innovative programme specifically for small and medium enterprises (SME's) in India that offers a range of incentives including a double bonanza by which both - the member organizations and their travelling employees - earn miles that can be redeemed for free flights, upgrades, etc.
Gulf Air's popular Frequent Flyer programme has also undergone a major change; renamed 'Falcon Flyer,' the new programme offers members even more attractive privileges and value added benefits such as bonus miles upto 250%, guaranteed seats, priority baggage handling, half miles redemption and family membership. Gulf Air already has 42000 Frequent Flyer members from India.
For families, Gulf Air has introduced 'Family First' - a series of competitively priced packages for customers travelling with their spouses and kids, offering special privileges both on the ground and in the air. This will be an attractive package particularly for Indians, who very often travel with their families on vacation.
Most important of this suite of initiatives is the state-of-the-art inflight entertainment offering world's first full connectivity onboard Gulf Air's long-haul flights offering high speed internet, 3G-4G mobile data speed connectivity, voice over the internet (VOIP) i.e. skype, streaming videos and the world's first in-flight live TV via satellite, launched in October this year. (ANI)