Gulf Air has come a long way since it launched services in 1950 as Gulf Aviation Company owned by the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Sultanate of Oman. The airline started as a small scale commuter service, serving the oil fields of the Gulf and some regional customers. Today, Gulf Air is a major international airline serving over 40 destinations worldwide. The company faced many problems in being the airline of preference in Bahrain and the neighboring GCC countries encountering big losses on a daily basis. The company unveils a new strategy which focuses on three core elements – a more focused international network, a superior, more consistent product and a modern, more efficient fleet that will optimize value. Gulf Air’s new strategy focuses on Customer Care and Services Monitoring. The new strategy has proven that the company performance is been improved in many areas but evidence suggests that Gulf Air still not attracting the targeted number of local passengers from Bahrain. i.e. Bahrainis are not Loyal to their National carrier.
1.2 Research Purpose and Question
The fundamental question that arises is why Gulf Air as a national carrier which recently improved its services and introduces new strategy to correct its position in the market does not attract the biggest portion of the passengers whom Country of Origin is Bahrain. And why Bahraini travelers are not loyal to their national carrier? Will national loyalty serve as an advantage for carriers in their local markets? Or, will travelers seek out airlines with the most advantageous offerings and disregard carrier nationality in the selection process? The main objective of this research is to examine if Gulf Air is the preferred airline in Bahrain? This research seeks to identify the role of national loyalty in air carrier choice. In addition, this research evaluates the effect of Gulf Air New Strategy announcement on consumers perceptions and perchance intentions. 2....