Oct. 24--Gulf Air has become the first full-service network carrier to operate from Al Maktoum International Airport, which is due to start passenger operations next week.
Dubai Airports on Wednesday confirmed that Gulf Air has signed a memorandum of understanding to start a daily service from Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central, or DWC, to Bahrain with effect from December 8.
The Bahrain's airline's already operates 51 flights per week into Dubai International, but is targeting travellers who value the new airport's convenience and proximity to new Dubai. It will be operating its new A320-extended range aircraft on all of it its flights between Bahrain International Airport and DWC.
"We are thrilled to announce the signing of an MoU with Gulf Air, the first full-service airline to commit to operations into DWC," Dubai Airports chief executive Paul Griffiths said in a statement to on Wednesday.
"Gulf Air's daily service to Bahrain and onward connections through its network are sure to be appealing to a wide number of travellers. It's clear the interest in our new passenger terminal is growing in leaps and bounds," Griffiths added.
Gulf Air's acting chief executive officer, Maher Salman Al Musallam, said the airline's new daily evening flight to DWC would provide additional travel options and seamless connections through Bahrain to over 30 destinations, maximising passenger convenience.
"Gulf Air has been operating to Dubai since 1960 and today operates seven flights daily from Bahrain International Airport to Dubai International the additional flight to DWC boosts Gulf Air's capacity to Emirate by 10 per cent," Al Musallam added.
Al Maktoum International Airport is scheduled to start passenger operations on October 27. Saudi Arabia's Nas Air and Hungary's Wizz Air are expected to kick off their services at the new facility on inauguration.
Jazeera Airways also announced recently that it would start serving Al Maktoum International Airport at DWC with two weekly flights starting October 31.
Emirates airline may begin its service to the facility in mid-2020s.
However, Emirates SkyCargo's new terminal at the new facility is expected to start operations in April 2014.
"DWC is just days away from launching passenger operations and this new MoU with Gulf Air is the first of many that we'll see as the airport finally opens up to wider commercial flights," Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at London-based StrategicAero Research, said.
"With the existing Dubai International airport poised to endure weeks of summer runway work in 2014, there is a greater chance now that early adopters for slots at DWC will look to offset any impact on flights will shift them to the new airport to minimise any potential disruption," he added.
Dubai World Central first opened for cargo operations in June 2010 and has quickly established itself as an emerging cargo airport in the region with 36 airlines.
Copyright 2013 - Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Hungary's Wizz Air and Kuwait's Jazeera Airways have already kicked off their services at the new facility following its opening for passenger service in October.
Al Maktoum International airport is set to receive first passenger airline in a few days as its operator has done operational trial successfully