Gulf Air is the principal flag carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain. The airline operates scheduled services to destinations in Africa, Asia and Europe. Its main base is Bahrain International Airport. The airline is part of the Oneworld global explorer fare.
In 1950 Gulf Aviation Company Limited was registered as a private shareholding company. This makes its current operating company, Gulf Air, one of the oldest carriers in the Middle East. In 1973 the governments of the Emirate (now Kingdom) of Bahrain, the State of Qatar, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the Sultanate of Oman agreed to purchase the BOAC Associated Companies holding in Gulf Aviation. The Foundation Treaty gave each government a 25% shareholding in Gulf Aviation. The operating company was now branded as Gulf Air and became the flag carrier for the four states. In 1985, Emirates, the national startup and national carrier of Dubai, United Arab Emirates began operating, which would later become a major rival of Gulf Air. By August 2002 the State of Qatar announced intentions to withdraw from Gulf Air. The new summer schedule of 2006 saw the complete withdrawal of Abu Dhabi as a hub following the decision in 2005 by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to withdraw from Gulf Air and establish its own airline, Etihad Airways. In 2007, the government of Bahrain claimed full ownership of the airline as joint-owner Oman withdrew from the airline.