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Middle East Many expats still flying in Knoteetingham. Regional issues can be discussed here.


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Old 27th Oct 2008, 10:35   #41 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Hamburg - Germany
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Best Service Comes From Best Working Culture

I will definitely not say the quality of service in Gulf Air exceptional but I would call for a consistent review and continuous improvement, and one of the key things is product innovations. I also think enormous work is needed at this time as the airline has one owner. Ad hoc changes and lack of stability in management over the past few years affected the service delivery enormously undoubtly.


I don't agree that majority of locals are bad in service, neither expatriates are good, and this is based on more than 17 years of extensive personal and business travelling across regional and international destinations. Not to forget tha Gulf Air had been an award-wining company not far ago. It is very simplistic and unfair to describe majority of locals clueless about the industry and the job is merely a monthly source of income. The case is proptional and I would be pleased to read a report or study contrary to my opionion. Best Service comes from best working culture (which include a range of factors such as people, procedures, system, foods, .etc) but certainly it does not come from specific gender or nationality. I don't have particular stereotype or bias towards a nationality or gender when it comes to my understanding of service, even Bahrainis!


Kuwait Airways has preference to hire Lebanse nationality in their cabin crew and service-based area, but many complain about the quality of service. Can we say it is because of Lebanse? Absolutely NOT. Similarly, Why Middle East Airline have not surpassed others in service if they have the best nationality in service? In fact, I never heard or read about excellence or award being granted to Middle East Airline. Obviously, we need to examine the complete picture and leave the bias behind us.

Professional selection and development are the bottom-line, not gender and nationality stereotype. By end of the day, Gulf Air is a Bahraini international company and obliged to hire locals but at the same time maintain equality and diversity of manpower to balance social and commercial arguments, whether we like or not.


I agree to an input about alcohol offering by Bahrainis working in the airline. I personally do not consume alcohol, but it is fair enough that job contracts and requirements are honoured.
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Old 27th Oct 2008, 15:37   #42 (permalink)
 
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Shazar,

I see where your concern is coming from.
The Bahraini workers are not to blame for standards (or lack thereof).
The real issue is not Gulf Air's only but could have been any other airline.

I think Gulf Air's senior local flight attendants are some of the industries best. They are very experienced and professional, some having been in the industry some 25+ years. They know service.

The problem lies with the high turnover rate of cabin crew. This inevitably leads to a small portion of experienced and professional staff while the vast majority are very inexperienced. Currently, the ratio is about 15/85.

What makes this noticeable is the fact that GF has an ageing fleet. Which means the only thing that GF has to offer is it's service. This also means that our cabin crew are under more scrutiny than cabin crews whose airline has an award winning in-flight entertainment system.

The way to solve this is to simply stop the high turnover rate and get that service experience base growing. It does not necessarily mean throwing more money their way (though this will help) but to improve conditions in other ways to make staying with GF attractive for them. Maybe allow more tickets to go home for the weekend or simply by treating them professionally and as a real asset of the company.

The fact is that flight attendants are the 'face' of the airline. If they are not happy, it will certainly show in their service at the front line.

Last edited by Sal-e; 28th Oct 2008 at 20:31.
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Old 27th Oct 2008, 16:39   #43 (permalink)
 
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one of the best assets gf has at the moment (speaking relatively to other departments) are the crew. to be honest am amazed they even have the enthusiasm to drag themselves onto the crew bus for the likes of a 3 sector night shift. as flight crew we are all maxed out to the limit and sometimes beyond, over time this has worn thin on the morale. those who chose to leave to greener pastures did but not whole heartedly.
gender/race aside we have a good team whose willing to stick it out through the thick and thin, so its about time they got there dues.
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Old 27th Oct 2008, 17:06   #44 (permalink)
 
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gulf airs 'my idea' is a sham.
it's a way for management to make money out of others miseries. the proof is the head of HR himself, banana boat, trying to make a quick buck by slashing staff privileges.
the answer is right under their noses.

REDUCE NUMBER OF MANAGERS AND OFFICE STAFF!!! (now numbering more than EKs whose fleet at least doubles ours)

'my idea' is also naffs cowardly way of getting others to say the obvious.

REDUCE NUMBER OF MANAGERS AND OFFICE STAFF!!!

leave crew alone.
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Old 27th Oct 2008, 22:20   #45 (permalink)
 
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I stand by everything I said about GF. I have spent enough time with the carrier on ultra long hauls mostly, medium haul and extensive short haul. Have you been on a MEA aircraft of late? Youngest fleet in the region, tri lingual cabin crew(immaculately dressed and groomed) IFE which puts GF's to shame, need I go on? No, it's not SQ but it sure as hell is embarrassing when a wor torn country can provide such standards compared to a supposedly wealthy Gulf State. They also did it without expat help-why GF keeps recycling its strategic staff from abroad is quite telling.

The local males on board on the whole have been negligible in service standards and enthusiasm-please dont insult the many 1000's of $ and 100's of hrs I have spent in GF's premium cabins and witnessed this. GF ground staff are not much better.The arrivals desk is a farse and shambles at best of times. The men who tag luggage at premium check in are also usless...I have suffered many silver J tags when infact flying F. Check-in agent dosent notice or even look and why they dont tag the luggage themselves is beyond me.A small example of attention to detail GF has lacked for many years compared to its glory days.

The Chefs, female cabin crew and a select few cabin managers are the best in the region-they have always been nothing less than genuinely friendly, concerned and professional.

I agree GF was a fantastic airline, it was that impression which started my loyalty to them, however, enhough is enough one can only tollerate poor standards for so long.Would you keep spending hard earned $ on an inferior product/offering?-I doubt it, especially when periodically one hears of improvements which never seem to materialise. Things like changing livery and uniforms is beyond comprehension when so many other areas need adressing. The livery is one of the best in the world and yet they think it needs a change-priorities?

I'm also sick of paying to fly with duck tape-I have learned many ways of applying it to various objects now.

Please dont take it personally. GF is failing itself and its potential, let alone its pax(loyal ones at that). I was the laughing stock of my GCC collegues for a while because I remained loyal to GF while they all jumped to EK. The problem with the region is that critisim albeit constructive is all too often taken personally and enegrgies then targeted at defensivness rather than rectification. My loyalty speaks for itself and I think it also gives me the right to vent.

As with GF, downgrading my status rather than try keep me, you have hit back. That downgrade was final straw for me. If it were SQ who had dropped me down in status for lack of loyalty I'd have kept my mouth shut because the product is there, always was and most probably always will be! With GF it went a long a time ago and never came back. As I said in my reply to GF's manangements email to me "GF has not honoured its part of the 'loyalty contract' of providing the product which maintains loyalty"

Indeed if you are local I do very much understand watching a national icon be citiisized is not pleasant. As an Aussie the negative press Qantas has received of late indeed sadened me because they are a great airline.

I would also like to share that because of my posts on PPRuNe, which I dare say have been leaked to GF management, I have received an email from them. That was most humbling and professional on GF's part, thus I do agree GF has the potential and the staff to do it. GF needs overhaul and deadwood removed - be it local or expat - because it's obvious that the end poor product is a result of lack of executive strategy and/or implimentation. Work ethic is a major contributor undoubtedly!!

I'd also like to thank the pilots for many years of safe flying. Never once did I feel my safety was being compromised even though some of the fleet did look sub standard indeed. My GF A332 model sits on my desk wih pride and brings lots of good travel memories with it. Lets hope I can relive all that in the future.

Sorry for the long speel I'm def in a venting mood of late.

Oddy

Last edited by ODMEA; 28th Oct 2008 at 01:00.
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Old 28th Oct 2008, 07:13   #46 (permalink)
 
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Managers?

Gulf Air only has a high number of managers in title - they are not really managers. This sprouted from the lack of increments and pay rises over the last 12-15 years where I believe only 3 years saw a bonus and perhaps two a CPI applied at 3%. In order to negate the (real) loss of income due to this, departments spent a lot of time rewriting job descriptions to allow a grade and/or title change. There are staff in Gulf Air doing exactly the same job they were 10 years ago on, Grade-8 who are now Grade-11 just to recover the financial losses from no CPI. What the company then does is outrageous as these staff are now entitled to greater leave, greater allowances, greater non-financial benefits that erode the companies postion more so than if increments had reasonable pay rises had been applied over the period.

What Gulf Air really needs to do is already known and has been for a great number of years; yet it is not practiced or perhaps practicable for them to execute. That is to weed out dead wood and run more efficiently. The ratio of staff:aircraft is way too high to be profitable or for business processes to run effectively. Corporate and Political will is required to clean up and quite simply, as eveyone knows, that will never occur. Very sad for an airline that was once the envy of many, most of whom are now flying a lot higher.

It may just be that the best that can come out of it is that Gulf Air simply ends up as some University case study on how not to run an airline.
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Old 28th Oct 2008, 11:21   #47 (permalink)
 
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icarus, your right some weeding is necessary but that might not happen so the next best thing is just prevent the dead wood from making active decisions regarding critical and sensitive matters be it big or small.i just wonder how much this dead wood is costing the company compared to other factors such as:

aircrafts on ground due to delays,technicals etc:heard it costs between $75-400 for every min the aircraft is parked on the ramp for whatever reason.

lack of spare parts.

leasing delapitated aircrafts that,apart from the lease money, costing an arm and a leg to fix( EO,ER,EP and the recent ET,ES that spent the better part of their service on ground due to maintenance issues).

abusing the 767 beyond repair, finally fixing them and letting them go at the beginig of the summer peak. most of their sectors were operated by the 320/321 with half the passenger capacity and almost zero cargo capability.

expensive yet substandard catering and cuttlery.

the inability to retain flight crew( that cost alot of money and end up leaving in a couple of years if not months)

inadequate time gap between individual arrivals in the wave systems that eats up feul as the flights are held/vectored for miles on end before landing into bah(some instances feul lost could be anywhere between 200 -500 kilos).

in the end its bad desicions that are killing gf...i rest my case.
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Old 28th Oct 2008, 14:05   #48 (permalink)
 
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Mr Sal-e … Certainly I agree with your point of view on service and thank you for the background on the situation at Gulf Air.

In regard to compensation issue, establishing a compensation & benefit (C&B) system (intrinsic factor) and administering quality of working life questionnaire (extrinsic factor), both are good imitative to resolve motivation barrier. I heard many people are not happy about the new C&B system, and this is very expected everywhere. You can never please people about money and benefits, especially when the system is not being established before Company start and maintained up-to-date with the market trends. But that is not the problem of the employee nevertheless. Company should monitor people development and make good use of them through employability, rotation or transfer (internal employment policy). As the Company grows, it increases its base of well-experienced manpower without the need to constantly bring new bloods, often inexperienced perhaps adding a more financial burden, or allowing competitors to snatch best talents. Thus it focuses on business development and expansion. I could give examples from reality.

I been on MEA flights before. It is a rule of thumb that cabin crew members must speak foreign language(s) besides their native one and that is not a point for discussion. In a recent flight to Frankfurt with Gulf Air, I met presentable quatrilingual cabin crew, can I assume that an indicator of an exceptional service? NO. (Coincidently to note, most HR departments in Kuwait, have focus on image and language capacity than behaviour and personality. Use of Psychometric tests and personality assessment tools are declined in most companies, including Kuwait Airways. I recall a Lebanese colleague working in customer service and interviewing applicants, he writes clearly without any sense of embarssment; too much make-up, nice face, heavy weight ..etc perhaps he is hiring for fashion show! And I think this is why selection methods here are so primitive and most of the time based on racist grounds and stereotypes) When I travelled on MEA, I did not have had a very good experience in term of service and it was precisely a problem of improper communication (but that is an individual situation and it is not fair to generalise). Most disturbing scene to me; all cabin crew members are Lebanese nationals, no single foreign nationality. An airline is an international company operating overseas and dealing with different backgrounds, races and nationalities. It MUST have DIVERSITY. I know for instance British Airways hire Arab speaking cabin crew. One nationality = lobby = unique culture = unique politics = corruption, and the privatised Kuwait Airways is an example. Skytrax, a global airline rating agency, rates MEA as 3 star airline! That rating is equivalent to one applied to Kuwait Airways.

I found some insulting inputs in the threads such as without the expats, locals seem can’t cut customer service wise , ..etc all these are considered discriminatory, derogatory and racist terms in legal side of HR and could lead to legal actions if said or quoted in a work place of highly regulated job markets.

I greatly appreciate receiving a constructive criticism, but I would push back strongly those propped up by orientation on gender and nationality.
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Old 28th Oct 2008, 20:52   #49 (permalink)
 
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The merry-go-round goes round and round. These issues existed last year (new management has done little) and for years before that. NOTHING CHANGES.

The only explanation (cause I can't believe that successive managers are the problem) is the lack of political will to do what is necessary. Remember the big job cuts that were to happen!!???? Nothing. Round and round it goes.

Fortunately for the employees it remains propped up financially by the government. If that ends......................
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Old 28th Oct 2008, 23:50   #50 (permalink)
 
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They may be politically incorrect and slanderous if I were stating other than fact, however, the comments generally are fact.The proof is in the pudding- GF is falling apart.

MEA has restructured, got rid of 4000 employees closed offices cut routes and has made a profit for the last 3-4 years despite the termoil there.It has purchased all its own ac and standardised its fleet (which is why GF is getting ex MEA leased 332's). I'm merley using MEA as an example of how it can be done; MEA have a volatile political landscape to contend with which by rights should have been the cause of MEA's demise by now!!!

MANAGEMENT is the key word. GF has 'supposedly' done the same - where are the results? What is GF's excuse? BAH has been soley in control of GF for a year now-where are the results?

Please also do not play the racist card with regard to gender or origin. The male cabin crew as with ground staff are generally very poor operationally. Fullstop. Try and acknowledge the problem without becomming defensive.

GF has created all its own problems..not me(the pax), not the pilots, not the cabin crew...who else is there left?......think about it - who owns GF, Who runs GF?

I will always have a soft spot for GF I loved the airline and flying it. God knows I had plenty of choice from Sydney to EU and GCC and ME. Please dont misinterpret the intentions of my comments-If I didn't care I wouldn't bother posting.

GF could be so much better.

Oddy
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Old 29th Oct 2008, 04:07   #51 (permalink)
 
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cut the fat

TOO MANY MANAGERS AND VICE PRESIDENTS. THE PINK PALACE IS FULL OF USELESS HANGERS ON.
CUT THE FAT!!!!!!
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Old 29th Oct 2008, 10:15   #52 (permalink)
 
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Ok, there were some questions and I am ready to put answers.


We are talking about two transition periods in regard to Gulf Air. Old problems are legacy of old managements during period of four shareholders; (history; passé compassé), not current one, not pilots, not cabin crews. Etc. In a nutshell, no one except old managements.


Once last shareholder (Oman) withdrew, positive changes started to surface up:


·Assigning forensic auditors to comb financial books and arrest thieves; GF has never been able to bring any official under accountability except now because of corruption and nepotism. This was not only in Bahrain, but even extended to external offices outside Bahrain such as Saudi Arabia.


·Ongoing re-engineering flight networks; more and more people are talking about improvement in punctuality and new destinations are planned, couple were launched lately if I am not mistaken.


·Buying new planes; all past contracts and bank loans arrangements reached deadlock because of lack of commitments from other shareholders; current plans approved and signed off.


·HR system in place; GF has never have had performance management system, despite many people are hot happy with it; like everywhere. Even new legal Bahraini counsel being hired was dismissed subsequently; the case is performance, not nationality! Even Mr Dose, previous CEO was dismissed for many observations inclusive of washing dirty linen in publics about redundancy and losses, thus damaging corporate reputation.


Complaints about compensation and politics spread are everywhere and across many sectors.

It is clear there are two opposite mirrors; one started to shine and materialise, while the old one was gray and getting worse!


Indeed, Gulf Air did not make any profit this year and I recall a posting on this forum late July 2008 about the losses. Please read this link for the causes http://www.alwasatnews.com/Today/Issue-2207/loc/--/788762.aspx. The speaker is the highest authority of GF and owner, and annual reports of Mumtalakat could confirm.


It would simplistic to think that Bahrain could resolve GF millions dollar losses and problems inherited from old managements over many years would be resolved in one year. Reforms have cost as much as in case of losses, it is not starting from scratch and forgetting the past. This is not a love story. I repeat what I said before on this forum, I don’t think Bahrain government wants to spend public money without getting revenues, especially that GF success or failure has direct impact to other economies in the Country. For investors to come, the Country must have a good airline. I personally do not think GF is falling part when there are order for planes, new destinations are open, ongoing recruitment, ..etc

I can understand why some people behave defensively to MEA and other airlines and that is not a shame, I find it an honour to have similar attitude towards my national airline too. That does not cause me any embarrassment.

I am more cautious, addressing facts and figures is not like being picky on stereotypes and generalising up to 95%! I have showed the insulting comments to a British Chartered HR colleague here affirming my point of view, and she said; ‘this is racist since no ground or figure affirming its accuracy, it can be generalised that service is behind, but not stating figure to highest extreme such as in statistics and targetting certain gender or nationality.Qouting nationaity and gender in the context and contrast made are clear racism. Even legally, this is classified as refutable statement’
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Old 29th Oct 2008, 12:32   #53 (permalink)
 
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Would love to know what you're smoking Shazar!

The only case of corruption which had charges lain as a result of the Kroll auditors was a couple of people who ripped of Hajj pilgrims to the tune of a few thousand dinars - this is from an airline which has by its own admission lost millions to corruption. They kept Mike Kent here for the best part of a year before he was allowed to leave without charge and...er...that's it. Seems suspicious no other corruption was found...Oh, and the cost of Kroll's 'investigation'? $5million. Pathetic.

Oh, and Dose was dismissed? My understanding was he quit because he couldn't work with the straight-jacket of a board who know nothing of aviation second-guessing every decision, especially if it meant job losses for Bahrainis. Dose's main problem was he told the truth.

really, I've only been in Bahrain five years and yet even I have seen the same pattern of big promises and zero delivery from this joke of a carrier over and over again.
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Old 29th Oct 2008, 14:04   #54 (permalink)
 
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Thanks Krinkle for your sense of humour.

Certainly you have had no access to Kroll report with what you have said. Corruption was not in terms of people only, it was embedded in business practices introduced by ex-managements . An instance of that is the overtime and how it was abused as reported by a board member. Please try to get an access to Kroll report to judge yourself.

I would like to be objective as always, Dose did a number of good things such as talking directly with local companies to examine how GF can offer good service and help them plus other things. He was also very realistic about situation of the airline. But he nevertheless did many management mistakes and the worst was talking about mass redundancy and losses in public many times. Briefly, washing dirty linens in publics and adding more water to the mud. I watched and read couple of interviews for him stating: ‘we are not punctual, we are not reliable’. These could be addressed internally, not exposed to public! This is true marketing to other competitors and I personally took it as a call to travel with other airlines. Truth may sometimes kill business rather than revive it. If you are managing a company? Do you want to talk about your problems to public to make your situation worst or trying to ameliorate it and then talk about good results? I read on local press and from pilots and cabin crews about improvement in punctuality. That what we call in management as 360 degree service! It was very generous and costly gift from Dose to competitors. I know that Etihad had a temporary office to hire GF employees! I think he even had plan to have flights to Zurich, based on a local press, please correct me if I am wrong. What would affect Dose if he has to accept the existence of audit committee, he is the CEO and reports to the Board. (Do not steal; do not be scared). Previous managements were left to do what they like and this indulged the airline in more losses and some were not happy about it. When the new management started to be a grip and control, people started to complain too. I don’t know what would be the magic prescription ?!

You asked me a personal question about smoking and I do not smoke. Let me give you advise and please do not take it personal or as sarcastic way. It is now Autumn season and you could find blueberry in the market imported from Lebanon. Please try it 3 times a day over 3 days and see how your thinking will change! I think you smoke too and this will help you to give up cigarettes. We need to think hard before we jet down any statement!!!
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Old 29th Oct 2008, 17:23   #55 (permalink)
 
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Dose's public comments do not work in Bahrain because it was a loss of face for the Bahraini government. In Europe such comments are normal and are made to show that the old way of doing business is over. His comments were in fact positive in that he was showing that GF would be improving its service which, by the way, was and is know to be dismal.

His comments were the thin edge of the sword. The sword being the cuts that were to be made in employees, corruption etc.

I don't think it gave any competitor an advantage but did the opposite. Spread that word that GF's service would be improving.

But saving face was more important. To be fair though GF is a big employer and sacking hundred of Bahraini's would not have gone over well politically (despite that fact that it was, and still is, needed).
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Old 29th Oct 2008, 17:55   #56 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
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just wonder how much having excess staff is costing gulf air, and by how much is it contributing to the a million a day losses (keep in mind most gf staff at the offices are paid peanuts.. no housing, schooling fees, minimal travelling benifits i.e mostly economy..no huge bonuses if at all any etc etc)
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Old 31st Oct 2008, 00:08   #57 (permalink)
 
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Ill say it again the local male cabin crew and ground staff in general are poor operationally and definately not to the standards of the female multinational crew which includes Arabs - the fact they are isolated as Bahraini is becaise GF only employes local Bahraini males(and Omanis in the past) thus making them easily identifiable. Furthermore we are all part of the same human race tell that to your learned British collegue.Thus racism is a myth. My heritage is Arab and I'm very proud of it so please calm yourself in that regard.

MEA is not my national carrier, Qantas is. But I admire MEA for its perserverence and success and its CEO's business acumen - against what should logically be a failed carrier. By rights I should not be comparing it to GF as GF has a much larger fleet and route network. Maybe GF would be better off getting MEA in to consult on how it can be done? MEA would be a fantastic example business case for any MBA student! MEA was the carrier in the region in its pre war glory days. It shot down into dissaray but after yrs of terrible operation has risen again. That is the point I'm making. GF seems to be going throught the same cycles, albeit for different reasons. MEA is owned by the Central Bank of Lebanon and as such was still able to overcome politics and internal bickering to get the job done.

I'm not saying MEA or the Lebanese are better or worse-I'm giving you a regional example of successful airline restructure to the same extent GF needs restructuring, no more no less.

Once again address the issues of instilling a better work ethic into cabin crew and ground staff and not become defensive. When your front line staff are substandard any other problems which a pax may encounter are further magnified. When your front line product is execllent people are generally a little more tollerant when other things go wrong, thus GF is behind the eight ball from check-in let alone on board.

I know GF is trying but nothing is showing at grass roots level i.e. where the revenue comes from - the pax! Lots happening in the palace as you guys call it.
BUT:

To Sum up:
I want to see a difference at check in, boarding process, on board from seats, IFE, food, when I have a problem on arrival etc... when I call the call centre and have my questions answered efficiently, when I need to transit and get a hotel voucher or connect flights, when I have a flight delay...this is where GF needs to concentrate. By the time you resolve your 'managerial' issues your pax wont be around. EY, EK, QR are breathing down GF's neck yet GF doesnt seem to have any sense of urgency about anything. Is it any wonder I jumped ship?

I think we are going in circles here now and we have each respectively made our points. I hope to see tangible action with GF because when I do I will be the first one back on board!
Enshallah eh?

Oddy

Last edited by ODMEA; 31st Oct 2008 at 03:53.
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Old 31st Oct 2008, 09:35   #58 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: bahrain
Age: 39
Posts: 26
Devil Gf Air Lap Lap Lah

[FONT='Cambria','serif']NEW aircraft New destinations …. But look around you I heard many staff are leaving and many who been kicked out been brought back with a VARY good package . [/FONT]
[FONT='Cambria','serif'][/FONT]
[FONT='Cambria','serif']GF in time performance is Zero … and I was wonder what is the plan to fix it up.[/FONT]
[FONT='Cambria','serif'][/FONT]
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Old 31st Oct 2008, 09:53   #59 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
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ODMEA

Quote:
Thus racism is a myth.
I have to agree with you, it is merely nationalism and ethnic tribalism, something that has, and will remain a part of human nature for a long time to come.

Cheers
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Old 31st Oct 2008, 10:41   #60 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
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buba

Quote:
just wonder how much having excess staff is costing gulf air, and by how much is it contributing to the a million a day losses
I don't know what the average wage in GF is, but an airline this size in Europe (30 aircraft) would have approximately 150 staff per aircraft or less, requireing about 4500 total.....GF has about 6000 I am told. Therefore, find your average wage, multiply it be 1500/month and there is your answer. Incidentally in the US it is about 120/aircraft.

(Actually you would have to figure the total cost to the company including allowances, benefits etc.) The end result is quite small considering the projected losses etc., but it is still very relevant.

Chao
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