Gulf Air Will Fly Non-Stop to the United States

In 2019 Bahrain-based Gulf Air said they planned to launch flights to the U.S. “within 3 years.” That timeline was pushed back by the pandemic, but they’re again talking up U.S. service.

While Gulf Air is no longer an American AAdvantage partner the service would be great for readers since they now partner with Air Canada Aeroplan, which is a transfer partner of Chase, American Express, Capital One and Bilt.

Original May 6, 2019 post follows:

The CEO of Bahrain-based Gulf Air says the carrier will launch direct flights to the U.S. within 3 years. We can expect that new Gulf Air service to the U.S. to be on Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

Bahrain’s Gulf Air is hoping to resume flights to the United States within the next three years, according to the national carrier’s chief executive officer.

“We will be operating in the coming years more in Europe and also the Far East. Hopefully, in the coming two, maximum three years, we would be able to open flights to the US,” Kresimir Kucko told Arabian Business’ sister website Aviation Business

Credit: Gulf Air

The airline’s CEO describes himself as being on a mission to deliver a quality product as a path towards profits because his smaller airline can’t compete on network scale and it cannot compete on price either.

You can’t compete with airlines that are bigger in size, volume or with prices. You can only compete in quality … I can compete with any airline, no matter the size, with the quality of my product. That’s the battle I willingly participate with a chance to win,” explains [CEO] Kucko.

The airline will open its new terminal at Bahrain International Airport later this year, and will unveil a new premium lounge with “more of an interactive experience for guests with live activities.”
The airline actually wants “passengers to arrive at the airport earlier to take advantage of the hospitality on offer.”

With Emirates, Etihad and especially Qatar Airways under fire from protectionist large legacy airlines Delta, American, and United it will be interesting to see if this new service faces any political blowback. Gulf Air previously served both New York and Houston non-stop to Manama, Bahrain.

Both Etihad and Gulf Air have been rumored to be in talks to join Star Alliance. Gulf Air codeshares with American Airlines but lost its AAdvantage partnership a year ago. They had a redemption partner in Jet Airways but that carrier is no longer operating.

Etihad itself was formed after a split between Bahrain and the UAE over its Gulf Air partnership (Qatar and Oman used to be part owners of Gulf Air as well). Gulf Air pulled out of its Abu Dhabi hub, and CEO James Hogan was brought in to launch the new airline from the UAE’s capital. Now the two airlines are working together again and codesharing which they expect to expand over “an additional 10 routes, mainly in Australia and in America.”

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary – so is it direct or non-stop? You, of all people, know there is a difference right? One of my pet peeves is people calling a flight “direct” when they mean non-stop. I’m tempted every time to ask where it stops along the way since that is what direct means (with no flight number change even if there is an equipment change) in the airline industry.

  2. This would not be the first time Gulf Air serves the US. It actually has operated to the US in two separate times. In the 1980s, it had a partnership with TWA, and flew BAH-LHR-JFK with TWA. Gulf Air also flew to the US again decades later, but again, stopped the flights. Think they served JFK and IAH that second time around, operating BAH-JFK-IAH.

  3. I’ve always had a soft spot for Gulf Air, having lived in Bahrain many years ago. I flew with them again last month to visit the Bahrain Air Show. They’re a decent airline but, despite their declared policy of becoming a ’boutique’ airline competing on quality, they still have some way to go to reach the level of Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways.

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