Gulf Air Plans A Return To Sri Lanka’s Colombo

Gulf Air is making a return to the Sri Lankan capital after nearly a year. Direct flights will resume to Colombo on February 15th, operating twice a week. The move comes as Gulf Air continues to resume routes and move to its newly constructed terminal in Bahrain.

Gulf Air
Gulf Air recently moved to its brand new terminal in Bahrain, expanding its opportunities in the future. Photo: Gulf Air

Return

After a challenging 2020, Gulf Air has been restoring its network in the last few months. The carrier has now resumed flights to key destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia. The return to Sri Lanka next week will be another signal that the carrier is finding its feet once again.

As mentioned, flights will resume on February 15th with a twice-weekly service. The five hours journey will be flown by one of Gulf Air’s new A320neos. These features 136 seats, with 16 in business class (2-2 recliner seats) and 120 in economy (3-3 configuration). The aircraft is modern and offers comfortable seating.

Gulf Air A320neo
The route will be flown by Gulf Air’s new A320neo fleet. Photo: Airbus

Flights will operate from Bahrain on Monday and Saturday, departing at 23:35 and arriving in Colombo at 06:55 AM local time. The return flight will leave Colombo on Tuesdays and Sundays, leaving at 20:55 and arriving in Bahrain at 23:55 local time.

Important route

In what feels like a decade ago, SriLankan and Gulf Air signed a codeshare agreement in December 2019. The carriers planned to leverage their respective networks, with Gulf Air adding its code to SriLankan’s Colombo-Bahrain service. The return of flights could mean the partnership will get back on track soon.

Gulf Air SriLankan Airlines
Gulf Air and SriLankan were looking to grow their networks prior to the pandemic Photo: Gulf Air

The agreement also signaled the popularity of the Colombo-Bahrain route, attracting thousands of travelers. While demand has been impacted now, borders have begun reopening and the rollout of a vaccine will help further improve demand.

Gulf Air’s move

The end of January marked an important occasion for Gulf Air: the completion of Bahrain’s new airport terminal. With a dedicated section for the home airline, it has updated its check-in and lounge facilities, establishing itself as another important hub in the region. The expanded capacity will mean Gulf Air can offer new routes and the best services to passengers as travel recovers.

Gulf Air A320 787
The new terminal as Bahrain will see passenger capacity rise four times to over 14 million passengers a year. Photo: Gulf Air

As of today, Gulf Air flies from its hub to nearby destinations like Dubai and Abu Dhabi to as far as Manila. Important routes in India and Pakistan have also resumed in the recent months bolstering its network. However, more niche routes are yet to resume until travel bans are lifted for non-essential travel.

As a boutique Middle Eastern carrier, Gulf Air has also been growing its fleet. The carrier took delivery of its first A321neo and A321LR in the last year, opening up more opportunities for long-haul narrowbody routes. While it is trying to defer more planes, for now, the future for Gulf Air could be quite strong.

Have you ever flown Gulf Air? Tell us your experience in the comments!


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