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'It's business as usual' at Gulf Air

GULF Air declared "business as usual" as chief operating officer Bjorn NŠf stepped in as acting president and chief executive last night, following Andre Dose's resignation. Mr Dose, who resigned on Sunday after just four months in the job, following clashes with the board, is understood to be leaving Bahrain tomorrow. The airline will continue to look for a permanent replacement, the airline said yesterday.

Mr NŠf, fresh back in Bahrain from a trip to his native Switzerland, said it was business as usual.

"I feel comfortable and of course the plan has not changed. We will move forward on the plan we set out on four months ago," he said.

Mr NŠf would not comment further, saying he would be addressing a Press conference today.

He was brought in by Mr Dose, a fellow Swiss, as his right-hand man and to help push forward the airline's recovery, through job and route cuts, plus other cost-saving measures.

Mr NŠf's caretaker appointment came after a meeting with the board at Gulf Air's Muharraq headquarters.

The airline said the search for a permanent president and chief executive had begun and the post was open for Bahrainis and other nationalities.

The next person to fill the role will be selected purely on their qualifications and experience, it said in a statement.

Mr NŠf has been instrumental in implementing Gulf Air's new revamped network, which is based on a "wave model" and was launched on July 1.

He is also spearheading an initiative to boost the carrier's punctuality, which Gulf Air claimed was improving every day under his command.

"Mr NŠf's proven multi-tasking capabilities, gained over the years in the air travel industry, suit his new role perfectly," the airline said in its statement.

The 42-year-old begun his aviation carrier in 1990 with airline pilot training in the US and Switzerland.

Mr Naf worked with Mr Dose at both Swiss International Airlines and Crossair before renewing their partnership - albeit for only four months - at Gulf Air.

From the early 1990s to late 2000, he served in various departments at Crossair, also serving as a captain for the airline.

Mr NŠf also served as the executive vice-president for product and services at Swiss International Airlines, overseeing cabin crew, ground services, operations control centre, product management and development and also customer services.

Mr NŠf joined Gulf Air from Transafrik International, Kenya, where as chief executive officer, he oversaw international cargo, humanitarian and relief flights for the United Nations. msummers@gdn.com.bh



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