Gulf Air was initially founded as a private share holding company, named Gulf Aviation, by an English pilot Freddie Bosworth. The airline launched its services in 1950. The following year, British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) bought 22% stake in the company, thus becoming a major shareholder. In 1972, BOAC’s shares were bought by the Kingdom of Bahrain, State of Qatar, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the Sultanate of Oman. On January 1, 1974, the Foundation Treaty gave each of the governments a 25% share in the airline, which was re-branded as Gulf Air and became the national carrier of the 4 states. Gulf Air joined the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in 1981 and became the first international airline at Riyadh in the following year.
Gulf Air is the national airline of Bahrain, with its main base at the Bahrain International Airport. One of the oldest air carriers in the Middle East, it is owned by the Kingdom of Bahrain, Sultanate of Oman and Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The air service is not allied to mega Star Alliance of airlines, but is a part of the global explorer fare of OneWorld, one of the three largest global alliances of airlines. The company also shares special partnerships with Jet Airways and Oman Air’s frequent flier programs. The airline has three subsidiaries, under the name of Gulf Air Cargo, Gulf Air Hotels and Gulf Air Cars. The airline's logo features a golden falcon.
Gulf Air has a huge fleet of aircraft, which include Airbus A319-100, Airbus A320-200, Airbus A321-200, Airbus A330-200, Airbus A340-300, and Boeing 777-300ER.
Gulf Air serves 41 destinations in 26 countries, covering all of Europe, Asia and Africa. It flies to France, Germany, United Kingdom, Turkey and Greece in Europe. In Asia, it serves the countries of India, Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Bahrain, Cyprus, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Omar, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE, and Yemen. It covers Egypt and Sudan in North Africa. The airline also sponsors the prestigious Bahrain Grand Prix, a formula one championship race.