A Vision for Shaping Bahrain Aviation: A CEO’s Perspective

Jeffrey Goh / CEO · Gulf Air Group

In this exclusive interview, Andrew Shameen speaks with Jeffrey Goh, the Group CEO of Gulf Air Group, shares insights into his vision for “Shaping Bahrain Aviation.” He elaborates on his strategies for the growth and development of the Gulf Air Group, including its subsidiaries’ impact on Bahrain’s aviation industry.

What is the vision of the Gulf Air Group and the plans for growth? What are the top three priorities for the next 12 months?

I am excited by the opportunity that the Gulf Air Group has
in shaping Bahrain aviation. Our vision is to be a leading international aviation group focused on ensuring that the group enables positive economic contributions to the Kingdom of Bahrain as well as growth in the international brand equity of the Kingdom. A key part of this objective is to internationalize the products, services and activities of the group. To ensure that
we are able to deliver on this aim, we have embarked on the re-shuffling of some group companies as well as establishing shared services for the group companies to provide us with a more nimble, efficient and competitive platform.

Tell us how your experience as the former CEO of Star Alliance has influenced your role at the Gulf Air Group.

I have been the beneficiary of unparalleled lessons and experience during my time at Star Alliance. One of the key competencies of heading up a global organization made up
of immensely diverse members is stakeholder management and, of course, exposure to a fascinating spectrum of business models, management styles, cultures and much more. I am indebted for the knowledge and experience on the importance of connectivity, customer service excellence, partnerships, talent development and a long-term outlook, all of which are highly relevant to my role at the Gulf Air Group.

Can you share with us the future plans for Gulf Air under your leadership?

Gulf Air will continue to grow in a calibrated manner. We are very focused on strengthening our network proposition and developing connectivity, with Bahrain as a destination and a hub. As the Gulf Air Group, we are working with relevant stakeholders on a key initiative to build better and more connectivity to Bahrain to increase the Kingdom’s tourism footfall.

In equal measure, we are committed to delivering an elevated customer experience while leveraging digital technology that would also help to put the control of experience in the hands of the customer. It should also not go unmentioned that we are committed to the sustainability agenda of reducing our carbon emissions.

What is the role of Bahrain Airport Company in supporting Bahrain aviation?

Bahrain Airport Company is integral to our plans for better and more connectivity to Bahrain. There is a brand new passenger terminal with all the modern facilities and equipment. The efficiencies and conveniences which the new terminal offers

is an important attraction for airlines and passengers. Beyond passenger services, Bahrain International Airport is also a key hub for cargo airlines and cargo tonnage at the airport is projected to grow significantly which will be supported, among other things, by the new Express Cargo Village.

Gulf Aviation Academy has been a successful company of the Gulf Air Group. What are your future plans for it?

To continue its success! Gulf Aviation Academy has a good standing and is well-respected within the region and beyond. Not only does the Gulf Air crew train with it, the Academy consistently attracts trainees from within and outside Bahrain including crew from other airlines. The Academy is always on the lookout to build on its excellence and portfolio expansion opportunities. It is the home for the next generation of aviation professionals.

The Gulf Air Group has diverse investments and partnerships in the Bahrain aviation industry. Can you tell us more about them?

The Gulf Air Group has a significant shareholding in a number of key entities in the aviation space including Bahrain Airport Services and Bahrain Duty Free. Our participation in these companies offers us a strategic role in shaping Bahrain aviation by developing synergies, whether in operations or seamless customer experience.

Bahrain will be hosting the World Routes conference 2024. How is the Gulf Air Group supporting this event?

We are absolutely delighted that Bahrain has been selected as the next venue for this prestigious global event. The Gulf Air Group has been instrumental in supporting this outcome and we have started working with relevant stakeholders to welcome the world of aviation to the event in Bahrain.

As the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, you can expect that Gulf Air will be providing passenger and cargo connectivity to the event while Bahrain Airport Company will be providing the customary welcome as a gateway to the event. It goes without much saying that the benefits for Bahrain aviation and more generally will be enormous.

It is a tremendous opportunity to showcase all that Bahrain has to offer, for business and leisure. The opportunity to host this event sits well with the connectivity to Bahrain initiative.

What few words can you share on the future of Bahrain’s aviation?

Only one word – exciting! The future of Bahrain aviation will be supported by the Gulf Air Group, and we are a force for good. There may be a dialogue on the size of Bahrain aviation, but we will be doing what we do excellently well.