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Gulf Air says its niche will be to offer premium service

Reuters  |  DUBAI 

By Alexander Cornwell

(Reuters) - Bahrain's loss-making national carrier will offer a premium service to try and increase passenger numbers, its said on Wednesday.

The has been loss-making for years, forcing it to lay off staff as rivals such as and dominate the

In an effort to revive its fortunes, wants to carve out a niche as a 'boutique' airline, its said on Wednesday.

The strategy means it will expand its destinations and number of aircraft with an economy class more spacious than rivals and a 'luxury'

"We are working in a highly competitive environment," told in a phone interview.

could add around eight destinations and expects to carry around 5.8 million passengers this year, Kucko said, declining to give further details at this stage. The launched eight new routes last year, mostly to other cities in the It carried over 5.3 million passengers in 2018.

Over the next few years, Gulf Air's network will add more cities in Europe, the Middle East, and the before launching flights to the and China, Kucko said.

Around 75 percent of all seats are expected to be filled this year, Kucko said, the same as 2018.

Gulf Air will take delivery of two Dreamliner and five A320neos this year after receiving five and two A320neos in 2018.

The has 39 aircraft on order, including a contract for A220s which Gulf Air signed when it was the CSeries.

Kucko said the airline was still deciding on taking delivery of those aircraft.

"It needs to be thoroughly evaluated and analysed," he said.

(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 09 2019. 19:48 IST