Bahrain's Gulf Air to spin off training centre

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Middle Eastern operator Gulf Air is preparing to spin off its training and simulation centre as early as this year, and indicates that other businesses are being similarly reviewed.

Based at Bahrain International Airport, the centre provides a range of capabilities, including cockpit and cabin crew training, and features several simulators.

Speaking to ATI at the flag-carrier's headquarters, Gulf Air chief Bjorn Naf said that the airline wanted to turn the facility from a cost centre into a revenue generator with third-party customers.

"It's one of the best airline training centres in the Gulf," he says. "Why shouldn't you use that to go to the market and train other people?"

Gulf Air has not settled on a mechanism for the spin-off, and Naf is unable to say whether it will involve a strategic partnership, a joint venture, or new shareholders.

But he points out that the training division of Swiss International Air Lines, his previous employer, was similarly set up as a separate business activity.

Naf hints that other divisions of Gulf Air are being examined, saying simply that there are "things we are working on", but that the carrier is not ready to disclose any further details.