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Gulf Air establishes all-cargo division

By Hpanchal on November 28, 2011

Gulf Air has launched Falcon Cargo, a brand encompassing Falcon Express that provides mail, animal, dangerous goods and high-value cargo transportation, among other services. As the freight arm for the Bahraini flag carrier, Falcon Cargo will benefit from Bahrain International Airport’s cargo infrastructure, airline officials said.

“With a faster and efficient Bahrain airport and a team of dedicated cargo professionals, strengthened by our unique advantage of operating the largest network in the Middle East, we can move shipments more rapidly than any other hub in the Gulf,” Gulf Air Senior Manager Rory Black said in a statement. In addition to offering air-conditioned areas for livestock, Bahrain airport also features chiller rooms for perishable items and secure handling areas for valuables. The airport is even equipped to handle radioactive cargo, a Gulf Air spokeswoman said.

According to the spokeswoman, the ability for a quick turnaround for its flights led to Falcon Cargo’s unique moniker. “We like to say we’re like a falcon — sharp, dynamic, agile and swift,” she said. Adult falcons are also known for flying at high speeds and rapidly changing direction, two characteristics Falcon Cargo exhibits, she added. She attributes these abilities to the carrier’s size.

Acknowledging that Falcon Cargo is a “smaller airline in terms of cargo capacity,” the spokeswoman said it serves a niche market by providing fast connections from its Bahrain hub. What’s more, she said, “Falcon Cargo has a very small team of cargo professionals with a lean structure; therefore, our clients and GSAs interact directly with decision-makers.”

Much of the freight carrier’s business consists of traffic between Bahrain and the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The spokeswoman said Falcon Cargo is also a hub for goods flowing in and out of the other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states — Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar — and wider Middle Eastern markets. This isn’t the only region Falcon Cargo officials are eyeing, however.

“Our transit business already links key markets from the Asian subcontinent to the Middle East and Europe, offering industry-leading transit connection times,” the spokeswoman revealed. She said it’s a proficiency that will only grow with time. “We will continue to develop our business from the GCC markets by offering efficient connections from Bahrain to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the spokeswoman said.

Although launching a brand during a global financial crisis may seem risky, Falcon Cargo executives remain optimistic about the freight carrier’s future. “While parts of the world are experiencing slow growth, as a global carrier, we are able to spread our activity across several regions,” the spokeswoman said, praising the timing of the launch, which was the culmination of a year of planning and development. Plus, she maintained, customers always need a fast and reliable carrier to partner with for freight transportation, regardless of the economic situation.

Black said launching a new carrier is all about addressing demand and expediting service. “In today’s cargo world, your ability to respond to the market rapidly and offer value-added solutions is key to success,” he said in a statement. “Because of our network, size and mixed fleet, we believe Falcon Cargo is uniquely positioned to offer fast and reliable services to the Middle East and beyond.”

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