(Gulf Air have just sent me some cool photos - far better than those I took on my camera phone - so enjoy)
It has been a massive weekend for Bahrain with the eyes of the Formula 1 world decending on the Kingdom for the first grand prix of the 2010 season. This is always a major event for Bahrain, but even more so this year in securing the first race in one of the most eagerly awaited seasons for years and the race which marked the return to F1 of Michael Schumacher.
And as the race name suggests, the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, it is equally significant for the race's title sponsor, Bahrain's carrier Gulf Air. The airline's presence at the race was capped by a Gulf Air fly past which took place just before the start of the race.
These are crucial times for Gulf Air, which is embarking on a major restructuring aimed at achieving commercial sustainability by 2012, under the leadership of former Royal Jordanian chief Samer Majali. Under the plan the carrier has begun reshaping its network, shifting the emphasis onto serving the key cities in the Middle East region - a strategy which has already seen it launch new flights to Iraq and introduce its first regional jets. One of the central aims of the new strategy is to help improve its revenue mix by reducing its strong dependence on transfer traffic - currently about 80% of its business - and this is where something like the Bahrain Grand Prix fits in.
"Bahrain has a very strong financial and tourism centre and it is very nice place to work and to live," says Majali. "We believe we need to encourage more people [to come to Bahrain] We have a big reliance on transit passengers. This is where we are in line with the national strategy. We need to promote people coming here for tourism and this will enable us to keep people coming into Bahrain and reduce our dependence on transfer passengers. F1 is a primary magnet to increase the visibility of Bahrain. Whether you like F1 or not, it is very visible."