*** ----> Bahrain-US direct flights set to resume by year’s end | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Bahrain-US direct flights set to resume by year’s end

TDT | Manama     

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Report by Ashen Tharaka

Bahrain is set to relaunch direct flights to the United States by the end of 2024, according to US Ambassador to Bahrain Steven C Bondy.

The resumption hinges on a safety review by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of Bahrain’s civil aviation oversight.

Ambassador Bondy expressed optimism about the review’s outcome, stating that the FAA’s recent visit to Bahrain yielded positive feedback.

Following a successful formal assessment, Gulf Air, Bahrain’s national carrier, could potentially launch direct flights to the US as early as November or December.

“The FAA’s officials came to Bahrain a month ago and they gave a very positive read out.

They have a lot of confidence about the Bahrain Civil Aviation Agency” Ambassador said. The specific US destination will be a business decision by Gulf Air.

The return of direct flights is expected to boost trade and business opportunities between the two countries. Ambassador Bondy, shared this information during a roundtable discussion held on the sidelines of a reception at his residence.

A celebratory reception was held on Thursday evening to mark the 20th anniversary of the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Dignitaries, government officials, and business leaders from both countries gathered to commemorate the agreement’s success and highlight its continued importance for bilateral economic ties.

US-Bahrain FTA

Since the agreement came into effect in 2006, bilateral trade has seen a substantial increase, nearly quadrupling in value. In 2005, prior to the FTA, two-way trade amounted to $782 million.

By 2018, this figure had soared to over $3 billion, representing the peak of trade volume between the two nations. While trade dipped slightly in recent years, with a volume of $2.85 billion recorded in both 2022 and 2023, the overall growth trajectory since the FTA’s inception remains impressive.

Ambassador Bondy highlighted the presence of numerous American companies in Bahrain’s tech, defence, and banking sectors, underscoring the potential for further economic growth.“

Bahrain is a very good location to pursue opportunities here and around the region,” he said. 

US - Bahrain Businesses

The Ambassador emphasized Bahrain’s attractiveness to American companies, citing its well-developed infrastructure and ongoing land reclamation projects aimed at expanding business opportunities. 

In a move aligned with the government’s directive and the Economic Development Board’s (EDB) focus on reclaiming land for business expansion, a major American company has chosen to set up businesses in the kingdom’s newly established trade zone, occupying all available space, according to a statement from the Ambassador.

“An American company has decided to locate in the trade zone and take-up all the existing space.” He said, 

Tech and Regional Challenges

Bahrain prioritizes technological development for its economic growth, and Ambassador Bondy noted the willingness of American companies to assist in overcoming challenges in this sector.

The Ambassador acknowledged the disruptions caused by regional conflicts and recent attacks on commercial vessels, which ultimately raise costs for consumers.

Despite these challenges, Bahrain’s swift recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic positions it well for continued economic success.


George Cheriyan, Corporate CEO, American Mission Hospital (Second from the left) along with the other business leaders attend the reception.


Lulu Group Regional Director Juzer Rupawala (left) with US Ambassador Steven C Bondy at the event.