Gulf Air, the national carrier of Bahrain, officially announced its intention to commence flights to China in January 2024.
Two Chinese cities, Guangzhou and Shanghai, will be serviced by the airline from its hub at Bahrain International Airport.
“China is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and a global tourism market. It is key to our strategy of calibrated network growth. These flights will offer greater choice and flexible travel experiences for passengers and create new pipelines for trade, tourism, and collaboration, benefitting both nations,” said Jeffrey Goh, chief executive officer of Gulf Air Group Holding.
The aircraft utilised for the flights will be a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, configured with two classes—business and economy.
While the exact frequency and timetable of Gulf Air’s flights to China remain undisclosed, the airline has stated that “the schedule has been created to facilitate convenient connections between China and the destinations in the Middle East and Europe that Gulf Air serves, as well as between those destinations and China.”
The Economic Development Board of Bahrain convened the Bahrain-China Investment Forum, during which the new routes to China were unveiled.
Goh stated, “We are confident these new flights will be appreciated by the international business community, those seeking exciting new leisure destinations, and those simply looking to visit friends and family”.
This year, in May, Gulf Air commenced its codeshare relationship with Emirates, an additional GCC carrier. The expanded partnership resulted in Gulf Air placing its marketing code “GF” on Emirates-operated flights beyond Dubai to several destinations, including Budapest, Prague, Warsaw, Algeria, Tunis, Bali, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Taipei, and Sao Paulo.
Last year, Bahrain International officially launched its new 210,000-square-metre terminal, which has a capacity of 14 million passengers annually. In 2022, Bahrain International hosted 6.9 million passengers, a 127.5 per cent jump from the 3 million it did in 2021. Last year, aircraft traffic movement at the airport rose from 51,000 in 2021 to 82,000, only 15 per cent short of its pre-pandemic performance in 2019.