Gulf Air, once the cream of the crop in the Middle East, sadly started to slip against the backdrop of the now globally-famous ‘ME Three’. Ageing hard products and a limited route network meant the carrier was very rarely the top of passengers preferences.
However, things might be about to change. Gone the heavy golden and navy livery, now replaced with a brand new design featuring golden nacelles, large logotype and refreshed Falcon tail fin logo. The design, which is certainly a lot more contemporary, loses some of it’s originality, but makes up for it with a more contemporary and bold visual statement. Eagle-eyed readers might notice the logotype has a layer of shadow built in, offering a 3D effect to the typeface.
Inside, the aircraft shows off a far more radical change. In economy, the 3 x 3 x 3 seating, normal to a 787-9 now, features large TV screens, a lot of storage and bi-fold tray tables, offering economy passengers enhanced space and utilisation.
In business class however the airline has done an Olympic leap-jump from its current ‘lie-flat’ flat-bed 2 x 2 x 2 seats. Opting for Apex Suites, the seats now offer all-aisle access. While the hard product is the same as those found on Japan Airlines and Oman Air, the trim and finish that the airline has opted for is highly customised. (Although, not sure what the Orchid is doing on the table in the image below)
This means there are a variety of textures which reflect and capture the airline’s mood light with a wealth of matt ash, champagne and brushed golden trim complementing the neutral seat shell colours. There is a range of seating arrangements, the centre pairs offer side by side seating, while the side pairs are slightly staggered to allow for aisle access, meaning the aisle seats here also offer a small storage unit by the seat while upright.
We are incredibly pleasantly surprised to see this product upgrade, which is less of a matter of keeping up with the local competition, and more a matter of offering a cabin class-leading product. Hopefully the new livery and hard product will re-inject life into the cabin crew, to create a product that inspires pride in the carrier for years to come.