Gulf Air’s New Livery Is *Gorgeous*

Filed Under: Other Airlines

A few years ago I flew Gulf Air from London to Bahrain, and they were… fine. There was an onboard chef and they had flat beds, but the whole operation just sort of felt a bit past its prime. Bahrain Airport also leaves a lot to be desired.

I guess all of that isn’t surprising, given Gulf Air’s history. In the 1970s, Gulf Air was kind of a big deal, as they were the airline of Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, and Oman, and they were the largest carrier in the region. At one point they even flew to Australia. Over the years that changed, as we saw the development of the other states, and eventually the introduction of Emirates Airline, and eventually other airlines in the region as well.

Gulf Air didn’t do a lot to innovate for a long time, and then in 2002 James Hogan became CEO of Gulf Air, with the goal of turning the airline around. That didn’t exactly happen, and then in 2006 James Hogan went on to become the CEO of Etihad Airways (and we all know that didn’t end well).

Anyway, that brings us to today. It seems like Gulf Air may finally slowly be turning around, or something. I say “or something” because I’m not convinced they’ll actually make money, but rather just that their government is willing to pump some more money into the airline in hopes of it once again putting Bahrain on the map a bit more. There are a few things they have working in their favor:

  • Bahrain is getting a new airport, which is long overdue; last I heard it’s supposed to open in 2019, but who really knows, since airport construction is rarely completed on-time
  • Gulf Air has 21 Boeing 787-9s on order, which will help refresh their fleet and allow them to grow (presently they only have six Airbus A330s in their longhaul fleet)
  • As part of this growth, the airline plans to add new destinations, including additional flights to Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, and “ultimately, North America” (which I’m skeptical about)

Gulf Air will shortly be taking delivery of their first Boeing 787, which they’ll begin flying between Bahrain and London as of June 2018. The airline is expected to install Apex Suites in business class, which I consider to be one of the best business class seats in the world (these are presently only available on Japan AirlinesKorean Air, and Oman Air.

Apex Suites on Oman Air 787

Anyway, as part of their brand refresh, Gulf Air will be introducing a new livery. Personally I love their current livery, though others may find it to be a bit over the top. I love how distinctive it is, as you certainly won’t mix up Gulf Air with any other airline when at an airport. Here’s a rendering of what their 787 would have looked like in the old livery:

Not surprisingly, Gulf Air will be debuting their new livery on the 787, and the first fully painted one is fully visible for the first time in Everett, and a Twitter user has a picture of it:

Am I the only one who thinks this is one of the most gorgeous liveries ever? I love it. It’s not over the top, but I love the beautiful tail, the gold engines, and the thick lettering… wow!

If you want to redeem miles for a ticket on Gulf Air’s new 787, you can redeem American AAdvantage miles on them. However, the partnership is ending on April 30, 2018, so be sure to book before then (though you can travel on subsequent dates).

What do you make of Gulf Air’s new livery? Do you prefer the new or old one?

  1. Wherever Hogan going into, the company will be disaster!

    Just look at the track record even before Gulf Air or Etihad.

  2. Oman Air will shortly be taking delivery of their first Boeing 787, which they’ll begin flying between Bahrain and London as of June 2018.

    Oman Air will based in Bahrain too in June???

  3. Looks pathetic to me… Also the color of the letters doesn’t seem to go well with the overall livery

  4. Your love for all bling bling gold of the middle east, people who would literally hang you in some states for being who you are, gay, is astonishing. You should try to live there for a while. See how it is. You can fly Saudia First, Oman, Emirates, Qatar, Etihad Residence all day long!

  5. Lucky asks: Am I the only one who thinks this is one of the most gorgeous liveries ever?

    I don’t know about other readers but I was disappointed. The twitter photo shows a Eurowhite body with billboard lettering — way too common and overdone.

  6. The tail logo is fine, the color is appropriate however the main typography is ham-fisted and amateurish. The net result is a somewhat dated near miss in my opinion. Purely subjective of course but the scale of the typography is bordering comically out of scale.

  7. It’s not bad but i didn’t mind the current one as well. It gave a sort of identity. Personally I wouldn’t have changed it. However the business class suite looks better than some of the first class I have see in some other airlines. GF have great fares from Dubai especially towards Asian destinations and I wouldn’t mind trying it sooner than later.

  8. The existing livery is better, IMHO. But the new design (less paint/weight) is cheaper…and that’s probably why they went with it. Oh, and BIG NAME LETTERS ON THE SIDE OF A PLANE…has been way overdone.

  9. @Lucky… I respect your opinion on many issues, but in this case, you are one of the few to find this new livery revolutionary. @neil nailed it. Their agency took a template and changed some colors. Hope they gave them a decent rate for the re-brand.

  10. GF livery is iconic and the golden falcon is definitely a recognizable brand. Good they kept the golden falcon image. But I am not a fan of the huge bold letters on a white or plain background. Now the engines are fully in gold…that is more Ben’s taste…
    Have to try them in C again…the last time I tried them was 5 years ago, they had the sliding angled flat beds on their leased A340 from SQ, you can even see some SQ printing/logo in some areas…the service was good as there was a chef onboard who doubled as a FA…Food was good and we had alcoholic beverages not like KU and SV..the wines were from AUS and FRA, but the champagne was not good…the bad experience was the over croweded lounge in BAH which was definitely to small for the late evening traffic to Europe and Asia…hopefully next time I fly with them, there is a new and modern airport…the existing one is just terrible…

  11. I love the current livery. Unfortunately the new livery isnt gone 🙁 The falcon looks like its been on a diet… and the Gulf Air font…meh….. I wish they retain a significant amount of blue and change the font. The should really do a Gulf Traveller retro livery.. So bloody beautiful it looked on the 767’s

  12. I like it
    The tail bird is way better than the previous version and the gold engines are nouveau riche, but fabulous!

    I agree that the blocked letters could have been better

    Overall an improvement

  13. Love that there is an F1 logo on back of the plane! (Though I too would prefer it be the old logo not the new one.) Forza Ferrari!

  14. My mom took me on Gulf Air round trip from jfk to lhr in first class when I was 10 years old. The golden falcon

  15. The new suite is actually called Serenity is different than the Apex used in JAL and Korean Air.

  16. @ Eden Azpilicueta — Do you have a link/source on that? Can’t wait to see what it looks like.

  17. Absolutely disgusting.
    The livery is supposed to inspire confidence. Sad to see it go from okay to the pits. Amateurish design. Looks very dated and jaded. And that’s really an apology for a falcon. Much preferred the stylized falcon.
    ‘Saffron’ pocketed, identity nosedived. Saaad.

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