"We are fully aware that these are harsh measures and we have tough times ahead of us," Dose told reporters at the airline's Manama headquarters in Bahrain. "But we need these measures to secure the survival of the company," he said.

  

Focus on Middle East

 

Mahmood Al Kooheji, Gulf Air deputy chairman, said: "The loss of $1m a day would even be substantially higher if other costs such as financing were factored in.

  

"Accumulated losses and costs, including 2007, would amount to $675m."

  

Dose said the frequency of flights to key destinations would be increased and new connections would be added to growing economic centres.

  

Loss-making flights to Dublin, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Sydney and Singapore will be stopped, in favour of concentrating more on destinations in the Gulf and wider Middle East.

  

Founded in 1974, 80% of Gulf Air is now owned by Bahrain and the rest by Oman after Qatar and Abu Dhabi pulled out in 2002 and 2005 respectively.